We love to consume information about the habits of successful people in business, relationships or sports. We like to discover what they do differently than everybody else that has helped them become successful from their sleeping habits to their diet. If you look online you will come across hundreds of books about the habits of successful people.
The most notable is called ‘The Tools of Titans’ by Tim Ferris. The author spent a long time meeting and interviewing some of the most successful business, spiritual and sports personalities on the planet. He then compiled a book that detailed the everyday habits of these people that have helped them to become so successful in their chosen field. The result is a very useful tool guide that helps us be more organized, more focused, healthier, more determined and helps ultimately achieve our goals.
If we think about this same concept but in regards to students what would it look like? What habits make a student successful?
Successful students set out a clear vision for their studies. They detail exactly what they want to get out of their time at college and this helps build the steps towards achieving that vision. The vision can include the marks they wish to achieve, the major they want to explore, extracurricular activities and even their desired employer once graduated.
Having a clear vision for your time in college can help motivate you to work towards that vision at all times. It’s important to remind yourself of that vision regularly and you will start to notice how you unconsciously move towards it.
2) Clear Goals
This can be applied to most things in your life but is extremely useful in college. Take the time to sit down and write out some clear goals for whatever you may come up against. If you’re writing an assignment you should set out a deadline and desired grade. If you join the volleyball team, detail what position you want and what fitness level you would like to achieve. If you want to learn a new language, detail when you want to be fluent by and how you will do it. Goals change and move but just having some to start with goes a long way in achieving them. You might not achieve them all but you will have achieved more than if you didn’t have any at all. A lack of goals breeds procrastination and laziness, don’t fall victim.
The importance of having a good mentor is vastly underrated and not discussed enough amongst students. A mentor can come in many forms from one of your professors to an older student or even a parent. Mentors are much like friendships but with a focus on the transfer of knowledge and skills to the mentee. People naturally like to lead and teach others, you will find that some professors if they take a liking to you, will be more than willing to take you under their wing. The advice and wisdom from a mentor are invaluable and can give you a serious advantage in college and life.
4) Be Organized
Successful students are organized students. That’s the reality. Sure you get them one in a million type people that seem to ace every assignment and test without studying but for the rest of us if we’re not organized and working hard we have no chance. Cultivating good organizational habits can be the difference between a good grade and the top grade. Step one in becoming more organized is to create a good work schedule, the best work schedule makers are the ones that are easy to use, to manage and allow you to stay consistent throughout the year. Most stress in college is due to poor organization skills but it’s such an easy problem to solve.
5) Be Present
It’s one thing to turn up to class it’s another to actively participate. Sitting at the back, half-listening and scribbling in your notebook is no better than being back hungover in bed missing the class entirely. So many students go through college only ever turning up and never doing the real work required to gain knowledge and become successful. Raise your hand, ask questions and volunteer. Teachers enjoy having students that actively get involved in their classes. Remove yourself from the ‘participation isn’t cool’ mentality and get stuck in. You will learn faster and reach your goals quicker.
6) Ask for Help
You’re not perfect and nobody is expecting you to be. It’s important to always ask questions throughout your time at college. This is how we truly learn. Never act like you understand something that you don’t or else you risk stagnating your studies. It’s important to know when is a good time to reach out for help, there is only so much you can do by yourself. A college is a place of discovery so never feel like you shouldn’t ask others for help. Successful students ask questions and delve deeper, those who fail to ask the important questions can only go so far.
Students that ace their assignments and exams are those that go beyond what is required. Most students walk through college life only ever doing what is required but the key to huge success is to always go beyond. Accept extra-credit assignments, join study groups, meet with tutors and take free online courses. As long as your organized you can always schedule yourself to complete more work that adds to your knowledge and skills. When it comes to graduation and job hunting, all that extra work will put you way ahead of the rest.
8) Work/Life Balance
Whilst it’s important to work hard and go the extra mile it’s completely useless if you’re burning yourself out. Good organization and work scheduling always allow for downtime to have fun, socialize and most importantly relax. Working yourself to death will have negative implications for the quality of your work and grades. Time off is essential for learning, there are hundreds of studies that prove to have a good night’s sleep, getting outside into nature, being with friends and enjoying entertainment boosts brainpower the ability to learn more efficiently. A tired brain and body will eventually drag you and your studies down.
9) Have a Study Space
Every great student has a study space. This space should be perfectly set up for you to get your head down and study. It should be clean, minimal and plants are always a good idea. You should feel relaxed in your workspace. You can pin up your vision, your goals, and your accomplishments. When you sit in this space you are focused and ready for anything. It should be kept clean at all times and void of any unuseful objects. This is your zone.
10) Use Free Software
Today we have so many wonderful technological assistance that can be utilized for free at the click of a button from cloud document software, instant dictionaries, work planners, reminders, notes, and calendars. We have software that can track our work, track our studies and help us work as a team with other students. It’s important to spend some time figuring out what type of software you would benefit from the most and start using it to your advantage. Here are some of the best free pieces of software for students:
- Google docs, sheets and slides – free document software.
- Evernote – free note and task manager.
- Avast Antivirus – vital protection for your computer.
- Canva – Create amazing images, logos, documents, social media posts and more.
- Audacity – record, convert, edit, copy, cut and mix audio.
- Ccleaner – prevent your computer from getting clogged up.
- Prezi – create insanely cool presentations.
- Zotero – collect and save references as you study.