Building Confidence from Going Back to College

It’s coming to that time of year again: that time when the happy new graduates go on to achieve their future goals after gaining their degrees. They are all gleaming with confidence and pride. Going back to college – or going to college for the first time as a working adult – can be stressful and nerve-racking. That confident glow shown by recent graduates doesn’t begin at their commencement ceremonies; it originates from their first day in class, followed by meeting their classmates, overcoming challenges, working together on each course and learning other skills they can use in everyday life.

Overcoming Challenges

There are a number of challenges students face when choosing to go back to school. Between family and schoolwork, things can get pretty busy. Confidence grows with every challenge overcome successfully, no matter how little that challenge may seem. Every homework assignment returned with a score of 100 percent – especially after a hard week – greatly boosts confidence. So many students build their confidence by doing well on assignments outside of class. By the time they present their final project to the rest of the class, they are prepared to deliver a great presentation.

Working and Presenting in Groups

Many adult students gain confidence from working together. They realize they are not alone. By working together in groups, as in the cohort model, students talk to each other about their goals, their busy schedule and their family life. They often find that their goals are very similar. Their goals-might be to better provide for their family; to seek a promotion, to change careers, or to pursue a dream job. Being able to bond over similar goals goes a long way to building great confidence and teamwork. Many students have said that their group presentations gave them great confidence moving forward to future classes, and after they graduate.

Other Skills Learned

Confidence gained from going back to college is not only used in the classroom and the workplace, but everywhere else in life. Now that classrooms have been equipped with much more technology, students are finding that they are becoming much more computer savvy. This confidence in technology carries over into use of devices in everyday life. In the video below, a recent Albertus graduate says, “(With) the computer skills I mastered while I was here and the confidence that I have now, I can do pretty much anything I want to now.”

Transcript from Video

My name is William Farm and I just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business management.

My favorite memories of the experience, in general, probably (come from) having one of those challenging classes, having some kind of big project due, working together, struggling, and maybe waiting to the last minute on certain things. Then, when it all comes together, and you actually stand up and do a presentation (per se) and everybody does it nicely, everybody does it perfectly, it’s just a great feeling. That confidence carries into everything that you do.

(With) the knowledge that I got while I was here, the computer skills I mastered while I was here and the confidence that I have now, I can do pretty much anything I want to now.

Leadership Passion: the Secret Ingredient of Effective Leaders

Realizing your potential, reaching your potential, and helping others to realize and reach theirs as well…that’s leadership!

Howard C. Fero, PhD
The Leadership Doc

There are many ways to be an effective leader, to inspire our followers, and most importantly to inspire leadership in all those around us. In this inaugural Leadership post in the Albertus Magnus College blog I will talk to you about what I think is one of the most important dimensions of leadership, passion!

The Secret Ingredient is Passion

Passion for a cause makes you a more impactful leader. If we are all to take control of our lives, become successful at what we do, and, as a leader does, inspire people along the way, we need to find that ‘thing’ or that ‘cause’ that inspires passion in us, develop it to its potential, and use it to help others. When we are passionate about a cause it is palpable to those around us and will encourage and excite those around us to feel the same.


So, how do we find our passion?

It begins with self-discovery. Think about those things that you most enjoy doing. Do you love to create programs, do you love to teach children, heal others, help people with their finances, play ball? It could be anything, we all find our passion in different areas, the key is to find it, act on it, and add value to what we are doing and who we are doing it with. Think about how you act when you’re doing what you love. Most likely you are excited, happy, in the zone, and focused. When you are doing these things your passion shows and others around you know it. They want to follow you because they want to be excited about something just as you are.

People like Steve Jobs and Herb Kelleher in business, like Joe Maddon, Davey Johnson, and Don Mattingly in baseball, and people like Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi, and the Dali Lama who have done so much for our society are all very different types of leaders, but they were and are quite similar in that they were driven by their passion to do whatever it takes to promote their cause. I reference these vastly different people to show that when exhibiting our passion we do so in different ways for we are all individuals. Passion does not need to be shown by jumping up and down screaming, it can be exemplified by quiet, but meaningful words. We need to always pay attention to the situation we are in, the people we are trying to impact, and the strengths we have as a leader. When we understand these three dimensions and how they work together we can lead ourselves and those around us to success.

I challenge you all to think about those causes you are passionate about, get involved, and begin (or continue) to enact change!


Dr. Howard Fero, is an Associate Professor of Business and Leadership and the Director of Graduate Leadership programs at Albertus Magnus College. When not teaching classes and overseeing the Leadership programs at Albertus Dr. Fero uses his expertise to help individuals and organizations achieve optimal performance and effectiveness as The Leadership Doc. Dr. Fero will be blogging about different leadership topics throughout the year and speaks about these topics in his classes in the Master of Arts in Leadership and Master of Science in Management and Organizational Leadership Programs. He welcomes your comments and looks forward to communicating with you in our exciting new blog.