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Hyde School head turns lecture into book of do's for college-bound students

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Hyde School head turns lecture into book of do's for college-bound students

BATH — Malcolm Gauld’s 45-minute motivational talk to college-bound high school seniors proved popular enough to evolve into a 65-page book.

Having taught for 35 years, the president and CEO of the Hyde Schools – including the boarding school at 616 High St. – arguably knows a thing or two about what it takes to make it through college. In “Show Up, Study, & Serve: College Success Guaranteed,” Gauld offers what he calls “old-school wisdom for new-school attention spans.”

The book, published by Hyde School subsidiary Unique Potential Press, is available in Brunswick at Borders and Gulf of Maine Books, as well as at the Bath Book Shop. Gauld plans to have it in other local stores, as well as on Amazon.com.

He has given his talk each spring to seniors and their parents at Hyde and beyond for nearly 10 years. After hearing from many graduates that his speech was the most valuable piece of advice they received prior to entering college, and being told by parents that they wished they had heard his advice during their college years, Gauld said he was moved to write a book that he calls “short, sweet and perhaps slightly irreverent.”

“It’s sort of geared toward ‘what would an 18-year-old actually read on their own?,’” he said last week.

Gauld has watched thousands of students go off to college. “You see the same things,” he said. “The kids who do well, some come back looking like conquering heroes, and some come back with their tails between their legs.”

Wanting to beef up the first group’s numbers and reduce the size of the second group, Gauld offers advice based around three rules.

“I notice there are a lot of books out there that offer like a hundred tips,” he said. “This goes the other end of the binoculars, where it’s sort of: do these three things, and you’ll do all right. And I make it clear that it’s a ‘do’ book, not a ‘don’t’ book. I figure that’s getting covered by everybody: ‘what you shouldn’t do.’”

The first and most critical rule: go to class. Gauld said he has never known a student who flunked out of college and attended all of his or her classes. He notes that while high school teachers tend to be concerned about students first and subjects second, he encourages incoming college students to assume the opposite is true.

Gauld’s second rule is that college students should devote three hours of each weekday studying. While high school students are programmed to tackle “homework” and “assignments,” he argues, they won’t hear those terms in college; they must see studying as a time commitment instead of completion of assignments.

If students spend 15 hours of a 168-hour week studying and 12 hours in class, 141 hours remain, and Gauld addresses what to do with that free time with his third rule.

Gauld calls that rule “Serve Somebody.” He urges students to devote their free time to constructive pursuits, such as the college newspaper, the soccer team or a campus play, as opposed to spending all their time with the group that parties non-stop.

He says toward the end of his book that while he doesn’t regret the activities he got involved in while he attended Bowdoin College, there are plenty of things he wishes he had done: participate more in class, study harder, try out for the football team, go to more art shows and plays, and more boldly pursue romantic crushes.

“So, when you get to college, jump in with all fours,” Gauld said.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.