In a previous life, I’ve held jobs as a admissions representative and an academic adviser, both at a community college.
I’ve met some amazing people. And I’ve met some great people that made complete disasters of their academic careers.
Whether you’re starting your first year of high school or your last year of college, having the right attitude is critical to your success.
I’ve always tried to tell prospective high school students as well as current college students that they need to treat school as their job.
As a student, it is your job to get everything you can out of your education. That means taking the hard classes, sticking it out in a required class even when you hate the teacher, going above and beyond what is asked of you, taking on leadership roles on campus, and making new friends. Work on figuring out what you’re good at, get help with the things you’re not good at, and push yourself outside of your personal comfort zone every once in awhile.
Every student I met who didn’t do those things – students who worked at a job 50 hours a week, never got involved with anything, only did what was required and nothing more, never ate lunch with anyone on campus – suffered. They were lonely, exhausted, overextended and their grades showed it. And when their grades suffered, it took them that much longer to reach their goals, which in turn, raised the cost of their education.
So start the school year with a great attitude. Here are some ways to do that:
Set goals. Write down what you will (notice I didn’t say the word “hope”) to accomplish this year. Write out steps you’ll take to reach those goals. When you get frustrated, go back and look at your list again.
Learn how to manage your time. We all get the same amount of time in a day. Learn how to eliminate little wasters of your time and stay on task. Many campuses offer workshops on time management or you can find plenty of books on the subject at your library. If you learn how to manage your long list of tasks, you should never have to pull an all nighter.
Get help early and often. So many academic problems could be prevented if students got the help they needed early on in the semester. Find your campus tutoring center or talk to a counselor for guidance. Talk to the teacher. Whatever you do, don’t give up and quit going to class.
Connect with other students and faculty. Make new friends. Chat with your instructors. Having a support network to study with can really reduce your stress levels. It’s also your chance to learn new things and network. The kid behind you in astronomy just may be the person sitting on an interview committee for a job you want 10 years from now.
So often I see students worry about getting the perfect college degree from a prestigious university. But having those things won’t matter if you don’t start your school year with a great attitude.