STUDENT LIFE / MAY. 11, 2014
version 8, draft 9

How to Be a Good Student

perfect student

Being a student is a stressful and difficult experience. You’re forced into classes for hours five days a week, loaded with tasks that are supposedly meant to help you learn, and you also need to juggle a social life and hobbies with your daily classes. To make the most out of your time as a student, the most important thing for you to do is to decide how to manage the many aspects of your life. Here’s how to go about it.

Decide What’s Important

You need to decide how much energy you need to expend in each part of your life, from your academic life, to your extracurriculars, to your social life. My first two years of university, I felt unhappy because I was rather consistently spending my time on things that weren’t helping me get ahead.

The best way to proceed is to go over all of your classes right at the start of the semester, listing out requirements and putting them into an online or real calendar. Then, in a two minute exercise, write out everything you need to do for the upcoming semester.

Order this list by putting an A next to the most important and difficult class which will require the most time, a B next to the second tier ones, and a C next to the third. If you have multiple As, Bs, and Cs go back and create A1, A2, etc. Do this task quickly and just go by your gut and initial feelings. Then do the same for your extracurricular goals and then for your social goals.

What you’ll discover then is that because of one class’s workload or one professor’s less stringent requirements, you’ll be able to concentrate your time and focus on the more difficult courses. You’ll also realise that a particular extracurricular is trivial in the overall scheme of your life. You’ll end up knowing how to streamline your life towards accomplishing important academic goals. In addition, this method will enable you to become far better in important arenas of life.

Work Towards These Goals Everyday

Now you need to discover how to fulfill your goals on a daily basis. Perhaps you’ve told yourself that you want to get an A in your English class and also become get a leadership position in an extracurricular organisation. 

With that in mind, when you wake up in the morning, take a look at your goals. Then, write out some things you can do that day to get closer to that A or that position. For instance, I knew I wanted to write a novel I was proud of. I knew that to write a good novel, I needed to read consistently, write consistently, and learn different methods to represent a story. How would I work towards that daily? Well, did I read an interesting book that day? Did I learn a new rhetorical technique? Did I write for at least an hour? These are just little examples of ways I could work towards a big goal on a daily basis.

So again, order these little daily tasks with A, B, C. You’ll spend the most time on A, then on B, then on C. Use numbers to create separation within the tiers. Then go about your day, spending the most time on A1 and the least on C. Cross each task off your list after you accomplish them.

Set Short Term and Long Term Targets

Always make that daily list when you wake up in the morning. But you can extend these little daily goals as well. On Sundays, take a look at your calendar and decide what needs to be done in the next week. Decide where you need to be by next Sunday and then make your daily goals for the day. At the start of every month, take a look at your calendar and decide where you need to be in one month’s time. Finally, make a rough guide for how you want your month to proceed.

Don’t worry about sticking to your plans though. The point is to simply make you aware of your responsibilities and the manners in which you’ll achieve your goals.

Hold Yourself Accountable

The next morning, before you write your next list, check out how you did the previous day. I would calculate out my percentage of accomplishment for my As and then for my overall. It was a great way to set a benchmark for myself for the coming day and try to improve. I would try for 100% on my As everyday, and then try for 70% and above for my overall.

After four months, I went and looked at my overall pattern of productivity by graphing my percentages. It was actually startling to see. For a reason I still don’t know, I seem to get a lot of things done on Thursdays. This type of knowledge will further help you structure your time and productivity.

After following all of these steps, there’s no doubt you’ll succeed? Do you have any more tips to share? Comment below!

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