I realized the best students weren’t much different than I was and I decided to study the top students and find out their habits. I quickly found out the easiest way to become a successful student was to find the honor roll students and hang around them. As I began to spend time with them, I started to notice they do and love the same things I did: They all had iPod’s and loved listening to music just like I did; they loved going to professional sports and concerts just like me! They watched videos, went to the mall and traveled like me. They had various personalities and styles, but they all seemed to follow the same code or set of rules when it came down to school. I spoke with many who are the top students of their classes and took notes while speaking with each one. After speaking with the successful students, I created a success list. As I listed different principles that each individual students used, I noticed that there were many principles, but they all fell into one of five categories: priorities, goal setting, communication, progress and time management.
It was the previous principles that I used which eventually made me a successful student as well. I also created my own definition of a successful student as one who performs well academically, is active in campus life and extracurricular activities (team sports, organizations and clubs) and has a social life that stretches beyond the parameters of the college classes (you must have life outside college to remain balanced).
Most students ask, why be successful? Why go the extra mile? To which I always answer, ‘If you needed open heart surgery, which doctor would you want to operate on you? The one who goofed off, hardly came to class and almost got kicked out of the medical program? Or the one who was serious and made medicine her life’s work?’ The answer is always unanimous. Just like you want the best people operating on you to ensure a safe surgery and recovery –– others want you to be the best to ensure they receive the best product or service you eventually will provide.
The first principle shared by all high achieving students is PRIORITIZATION: What is the number one reason you attend college? Your answer should be something close to wanting to get a degree and education. With that being said, it becomes easy: 1. school; 2. extra-curricular activities; and 3. social life.
When I was in college, me and every other high-achieving student, realized that school was always first (because it would eventually make me successful) and everything else is second! Problems will occur in your life when the second priority becomes the first. Whenever the organization or club you participate in becomes more important than attending class, you are doomed for a mediocre semester. It doesn’t matter how important or noble the event you are participating in, if it causes you to lose focus on class time or study time, you don’t need it.
While in school, its best to only have one or two extra activities because too many activities will require time taken from study and your original goal, which is to become a successful student. Student who achieve great levels of success make a decision to only do certain activities and drop everything else. For instance, if you are a cheerleader, then be a cheerleader, student and enjoy your social life. You don’t have time to be a cheerleader, activist in the community, chapter president of the dog walkers of America, work with Habitat for Humanity and be a student, which means you’re going to have to make some decisions in order to be a successful student. If you’re having problems getting out of activities and organizations then learn to use the word ‘no.’
You can start today on becoming a successful student by making a decision to be the best and hanging around the top students. If you wanted to be an NBA player who would you go hang around? You would hang around NBA players or others who want to play just like you. So if you want to be an ‘A’ student, who would you go hang around? Other ‘A’ students.
-Photography by GMO Photo Editor Billy Montgomery
Tobias Q. Brown, PhC, MBA is a professor, educational solutions expert and motivational speaker who travels extensively sharing his rag to riches academic story of how he catapulted his grade point average from a 1.2 grade point average to a 3.93 cumulative grade point average and shows students around the world how to do the same. Tobias can reached via Facebook, Twitter.com/tobiasqbrown, YouTube at Tobias Q Brown or www.tobiasqbrown.com.