College Stomps First-Timers:4 Strategies to Become a Master Student



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By Lakisha Brown 

College students have an idea of what it takes to obtain a 4.0 G.P.A, but few actually acquire it. While it’s true that many students don’t apply themselves enough, there’s a bigger picture to consider. Most people have attended school and received some level of education in a life time—but they never learned how to learn. Students are not getting the most out of their education experience because they were never taught or equipped with the proper skills to excel as a student. Here are four effective strategies to becoming the best student you can be, and possibly the keys to attaining a 4.0 G.P.A.

Determination: Once you have the vision of what you want, you have to make up in your mind that you are going to do what it takes to get it. You’re going to have to work hard, sacrifice a lot of time, and miss out on some pleasurable events. “Strong desire makes you go above and beyond, pressing pass barriers because it’s something you really want. Being an excellent student requires you to persevere …despite failures, you keep striving until you get it,” David Dobbs, Baltimore resident, said. You have to be passionate about learning, even if it’s not a topic of interest, in order to be a great student.

Prioritization: Your to-do lists will grow as the semester progresses and you will need organization in order to manage your time properly. Create a list of things you need to do and label them in order of importance. Consider the deadlines for the assignment and how greatly they impact your grade. Having an organized and prioritized list gives you a clear guide to what needs to be completed and the order in which it needs to be done. It will help you manage your time effectively and assists you in keeping track of your progress.

Execution: Once you’ve set a clear guide on what needs to be done, prepare to work hard. You may have to spend hours reading, taking notes, preparing flash cards, studying, attending tutor sessions, researching, and writing papers. “…not studying or paying attention, that’s probably what kept me from getting a 4.0 G.P.A,” Kevin Herrera, Suffolk student, said. You must be able to analyze yourself and improve. Keep in mind that it’s equally important to schedule and execute fun time. Keeping a balance will keep you from burning out.

“I used to be a natural at certain subjects and my grades were higher, but I think I’m a more excellent student now because I work harder in subjects that don’t come naturally, even though my grades are lower,” Ellyssa Blythe, Bay Shore resident, said. She reminds students to focus on doing their best because the grade doesn’t define you or whether you’re an excellent student. “Keep making your greatest effort…school isn’t designed to fit everyone’s learning style, but do your best anyway.”

Be Relentless: You do not know everything, so be patient with yourself. If you don’t know how to do something, don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need. Be relentless, you paid for your education, get the most out of it. Things are going to be difficult and sometimes intimidating, but remember that’s only because you haven’t learned it yet. Be confident in yourself that with the right habits you will eventually learn what you need to know. Participate as much as possible in class. Accept criticism and don’t be afraid to fail. Failing teaches you what you need to know for success.

“Here’s the trap—let’s say you do poorly on something…if you believe your talent is fixed, your excuse will be that your bad and you’ll always be bad. You won’t consider seriously that you can improve,” Allen Cheng, Harvard Alumni, stated in a 2015 Prep-Scholar article. You may not start out good at something, but you can always improve. “It’s easier to blame something out of your control (an idea that you were born with talent or not) than to admit that you just didn’t work hard enough or effectively enough to meet your goal. You can learn to be good at anything because your abilities are almost entirely up to you.”

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