To be successful in the first quarter of the DEL Program it is best to invest in the iPad.  You may think that I’m talking about the device made by Apple.  I am, but it is deeper than that.  To begin with, the device itself will be great for reading the many pages of articles you will access from the SPU library.  It’s light and a good alternative to reading on a laptop or printing out articles.  It also provides great functionality to the weekly assignments via Google Classroom app available in the iTunes store.  What the letters, i – p – a – d, stand for are also critical to success.

To start with, letter i.  “I” stands for interest.  You need to take a rich interest in the topic for each week.  It changes quickly from week-to-week and if you don’t maintain your attention, you’ll miss some really good thoughts from your classmates and information from the texts.  A few of the texts are rather heavy.  Discovering a way to hold your focus, such as taking notes or drawing diagrams will pay off in terms of discernment.

The letter “p” stands for plan.  To make it through, you really need to pace yourself and plan out when you will study, when you will eat and sleep, when you will do work related to your regular job, when you will complete different pieces of the course projects, and when you will have some fun.  Pay attention and abide with the professor’s prompting regarding project benchmarks.

“A” stands for ask for help.  Ask for help from your significant other and family, your friends, the professors, your boss, your cohort colleagues, and your coworkers.  This may be for quiet time to study, an additional day to complete something, or an opportunity to bounce the week’s topic around.  Don’t be afraid to ask if you start to feel overwhelmed.

Last, the letter “d” is for discuss.  Discuss the readings for the week and topic with others.  I found it useful to discuss the topics with people outside the cohort to get their take on the topic and readings and also to help myself verbalize what I was learning.  Taking notes is really important, but talking through your notes causes them to have more value.  More often than not, you’ll make a connection you didn’t notice before.

In summary, if you don’t have an iPad or other tablet, consider getting one and make an intentional effort to have interest, plan, ask for help, and discuss as you embark on the DEL Program journey.