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The cover of the spring/summer 2004 Issue of SFSU Magazine


SFSU Magazine Online, Spring/Summer  2004, Volume 4, Number 1.

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  Alumni & FriendsAlumnus Lance Ong smiling. Copyright Kingmond Young Photography


Making the Grade

When San Francisco native Lance Ong (B.A. '99) started as a freshman at UC Santa Cruz, he thought college would be pretty much like high school. He would skim his text books, cram for tests and spend most of his time playing video games. Today, five years after graduating from SF State, he laughs sheepishly at this notion. "Boy was I wrong. I flunked out."

Failing his first year was enough of a shock to send Ong back to the drawing board. "Whatever happens, I can't fail again," he told himself as he enrolled at City College and made the simple decision to focus and work hard. This determination paid off. By the time he transferred to State, he had dramatically improved his grades and, more importantly, his ability to study.

After graduating with a degree in liberal arts and a number of honors including Phi Beta Kappa, Ong has written and self-published a book aimed at helping other college students succeed. "From F to Phi Beta Kappa" (Chromisphere, 2004), he says, "contains everything I would have wanted to know going into college."

The cover of alumnus Lance Ong’s new book which shows a cap tossed into the air at a graduation ceremony.Ong's main message is about attitude. "Be earnest about becoming your best," he writes. But he also lays out detailed, specific advice. The book includes photographs of the best way to flag class notes for exam preparation (use tape flags -- they are less likely to curl than Post-Its). He urges students to take a public speaking course early in their careers to help them in future class presentations and he gives specific questions to ask when editing one's own paper.

SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan calls Ong's book "… a well-thought out, comprehensive and highly readable guide to becoming a superior student."


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