College campuses typically a friendly place, but at the same time, a competitive environment. What you learn there will guide you for the rest of your life. Your good grades will significantly help you get the first job or in your application to graduate school. As a student, you need specific skills to be successful, but these are skills that can be learned.
The Basics of Being a Good Student
Your top priority should be doing well in school. Study and always attend class. Do all your assigned reading and homework. You should have self-discipline and know how to manage your time very well.
Self-Discipline Made Easy
Self-discipline may not be natural at first, but you can train yourself to it. Your behavior may contradict your reasoning. But you can educate yourself to have an immediate reaction-mechanism within you. Make it a practice that you want to do what you know you should.
Remember that you only have 24 hours a day, no matter how you slice it. Good time-management requires:
- Taking a note on more than you can handle.
- Having a reasonable estimate of the time needed to complete each of the tasks at hand.
- Doing what needs to be done.
Put in your mind that you can’t put time back on the clock as a minute now is as precious as a minute later. Also, you should know that if you try to stay right on schedule, you’ll fall behind with a single mishap or misjudgment. So, to avoid this, you should always be ahead of schedule.
- Understand yourself and be honest with yourself. All else follows from this.
- Be both coach and athlete: Keep one eye on yourself, and one eye on what you’re doing.
- Take command of yourself and take responsibility for yourself.
- Face your insecurities head-on. Asking a question to which you already know the answer is one common sign of insecurity. Another is when you’re artificially social with other students or instructors when the actual reason is to kill the pain temporarily.
- Create a positive self-image. When you first enter college, try to do well immediately to instill an expectation of continuing to do well. Find your weaknesses and attack them. You have limitations, just like everybody else, and you should be realistic about them. But don’t be satisfied with them.
Taking a Course
Learn the material and the instructor. Pay attention to the patterns of the instructor in the class as to what he/she emphasizes, etc. Know more about him/her from other students. However, a good instructor will present their course in such a way that it’ll be of little benefit for the student to learn him/her, thereby pushing their students to learn the material.
- Write legibly, orderly, and coherently. Provide any commentary necessary to make it clear what you are trying to do. Remember that a human being grades your work. Making the job of the grader easier will more likely result in getting the benefit of the doubt when it happens.
- Getting the correct answer to a homework problem doesn’t imply that you have mastered the corresponding material. Keep in mind that you only solved one particular problem, and this doesn’t mean you have necessarily learned how to solve all such problems, such as the ones to appear on your exams.
- Even if you did well on the assignment, always go over the solutions offered by the instructor if available. He/she may provide methods that are more efficient, or he/she may provide useful information that you had not thought.
- Study in ways that are best suited to you. You can study in a group or alone.
- It is important to read the instructions thoroughly and carefully of the exam.
- Answer those problems you feel confident you can do quickly and well.
- Always check over our answers if there’s still time left.
Do not merely go through the motions of attending class, reading, and doing homework. These actions are not enough. Successful students are continually asking themselves honestly if they do understand what’s going on. If the answer is in the negative, then the situation is viewed as unacceptable and more effort is the response.