Break in Perspectives #4: Commitment

Personal and professional commitment can make all the difference. Michèle and Mona agree and provide interesting insights from a student’s and a lecturer’s perspective.

Michèle Ritter, student

Commitment is a strong word. Containing lots of consequences once spoken. In my dictionary, it is stated that “Success usually demands commitment”. Commitment is used in various life situations. We seek for it in relationships, business and family matters. But simply seeking it usually does not do the trick. In order to benefit from all the positive outcomes of full commitment, we have to show commitment ourselves.

People are asking us how we do things at university, how we keep up the motivation to write exams, papers and assessments twice a year. I say, commitment is the basis of everything. Motivation is just an outcome. And I do not say that we have to be committed to our school or our courses. We simply have to be committed to our goals. With that, commitment in school, work and life comes along the way.

Sounds all fun and easy right? Well, it is not. Staying committed to personal goals is the hardest part of all. Going to school, attending lectures and write essays is just what we do on the way.

Yes, we can skip classes, show up late or not at all during the whole semester or just simply focus on exams when they are due. We can also write our papers the night before and study for that statistics exam one week in advance. We just have to ask ourselves if doing this will get us one step closer to our goals or not. We might also want to ask ourselves why we are willing to do such things. Because it probably will not help us on our way, and as a consequence we would be wasting our time. That is why I encourage my fellow students to think about what comes next. And to then find out if what we are doing at university is worth enough of our full commitment and engagement in order to be successful one day.


Mona Meyer, lecturer

What are students commited to most? There is no conclusive answer. And I can understand. Because most of us commit to more than one thing at a time. When it comes to my job as lecturer my commitment and promise is to support and supervise students along their academic journey. Availability, responsiveness, as well as genuine interest in their subject are part of my commitment. Further, my engagement includes offering students a platform where they can get to know entrepreneurs, see how start-ups and SMEs are run, get networking opportunities, and learn from experts. My purpose is to inspire and motivate students in achieving their goals.

In return I expect absolute respect or rather a respecting and engaging interaction with this offer. Foremost, I expect that students do not take everything for granted, but rather show appreciation. It takes a lot of hard work, effort, hassles, sweat, and a long time of maintaining contacts. There is too much at stake.

Commitment also means to have a personal interest in further development and continuing education. This can mean that you learn by studying on your own (self-study), prepare for classes, revise documents, and practise self-reflection.

I don’t expect understanding from each and every student. I expect commitment to their own journey and the course. A dedication to a regardful interaction. Why should students behave differently at school than towards your boss, employer, partner, parents or friends? Why should they behave less respectfully, less responsibly and be less commiting? When you applied for your studies, you had an aim in mind. You still want to reach it? Then remember your initial motivation. Remember who accompanied you on your (academic) journey. Ultimately you owe yourself commitment. You entered into an agremement with yourself. So make sure you read the small print: Commitment, engagement, and willingness.

Contact the authors:

Mona Meyer, mona.meyer@fhnw.ch

Michèle Ritter, michele.ritter@students.fhnw.ch

Read also:

Break in Perspectives #1: Deadlines
Break in Perspectives #2: To-Do-Lists
Break in Perspectives #3: Semester Break

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