Special guest Tawan Perry closes Motlow ‘Weeks of Welcome’ with inspiring message to students
Guest speaker Tawan Perry brought a series of high-energy information sessions to Motlow State Community College students on all four campuses last week to put an exclamation point on the ‘Weeks of Welcome’ that opened the 2018-19 academic year.
Perry, an internationally sought-out speaker and award-winning author, brought three distinct but related messages to Motlow students at the Fayetteville, McMinnville, Moore County and Smyrna campuses; “Community College: A Game-changer”, “Academic, Social and Emotional Wellness”, and “Success Starts with You”.
He speaks from his own experience as a student who enrolled in a local community college and struggled academically. With hard work and persistence he eventually graduated, and was awarded a full academic scholarship. From that point forward, he has never looked back and has dedicated his life’s work to help students successfully navigate the rigors of college.
"High schools pass out diplomas to graduates, but no one passes out a standard blueprint which details a direct path leading to successful college graduation," said Perry. “I try to tell students the stuff that you won’t ﬁnd in admission brochures, before they need to know it.”
On the Moore County campus, Perry opened his first session by selecting a group of students to play a game of musical chairs. He used the game to emphasize his point that life is all about competition, and those that prepare for what is coming their way and know what they want are usually successful.
He then had his audience make a list of five categories - what you are grateful for, what you want to achieve, the completion date for your goals, why those goals are important to you, and what your action steps are to achieve your goals.
“Someday is not a day of the week,” Perry told an attentive crowd in Powers Auditorium. “I’ve checked the calendar and there are only seven days in a week and someday is not one of them. Turn to the person beside you and tell them someday is not a day of the week. It is critical to have a time frame for your goals.”
Perry cautioned his audience that what happens at school is not usually what derails someone’s academic career, but rather it is what happens at night or on the weekend that creates issues with academics. He encouraged students to take care of themselves and look out for themselves.
The second session focused on general wellness, opening with the attendees taking a short stress assessment test. Perry then used a handout featuring boxes for each hour of a 24-hour day, asking students to fill in what they are doing each hour on their busiest day, to demonstrate how time management is critical to success.
“We make time for the things that we value in life,” Perry stressed. “Look at your 24-hour sheet and see what you are spending your time on. Those are the things you value.”
Perry began session three by welcoming volunteers for a brief reading of “The Three Little Pigs” tale. He used the exercise to point out the need for a strong foundation in life.
“Everybody has big bad wolves in their life,” Perry said. “Maybe it’s a job that they are unhappy in, maybe it’s a bad boss or a bad family situation. I know a lot of people who are unhappy in their jobs because they didn’t follow their heart and their passion when they were your age. You are young, so choose a career that will make you happy.”
Perry concluded his series of messages, attended by hundreds of students, by encouraging them to be prepared for obstacles in life because everybody has them. “Finish what you start, and right now that means finish at Motlow State,” he concluded. “Break life’s big goals into little pieces and finish them one piece at a time. Before you know it, you look up and the big goal is complete. Then you move on to the next one.”
Perry’s appearance was sponsored by Motlow’s Access & Diversity committee, chaired by Kirsten Moss-Frye, dean of students. Motlow annually awards Access & Diversity scholarships to selected students who are members of underrepresented populations, economically disadvantaged, and first-generation college students. For additional information about Access & Diversity, contact Moss at 931-383-1691 or firstname.lastname@example.org.