I speak in dozens of classes each semester on a variety of topics related to academic success.
In addition, I work with individual students in my office regarding the same kinds of issues. Typically, my admonishment is for you not to emulate what other students are doing, but to find those strategies that truly work for you and employ them.
This week’s admonishment will be a slight departure from that one.
It is true that in order to be successful and happy, you must identify your passion in life and work with your strengths, not against them. However, identifying effective strategies for studying will only work if you make a commitment to use them. If you don’t study, or study often enough, you will not be successful.
Reading is not the same thing as studying. Reading is essential, but it is not enough to keep you afloat. Real studying requires that you carefully dissect the information in your text and match it up with information from the lectures. Then walk around this mass of information and try to see it from every angle. At some point, you must then call up all of your previous knowledge and experiences and connect the new with the old.
Learning takes time. It takes commitment. It takes your personal involvement. And, it requires a degree of risk — the risk of discovering things about which you disagree and the risk of learning that what you’ve previously believed might be wrong.
Achieving academic success will force you to acknowledge that the “hour or two” that you set aside each week for your classes is woefully inadequate. We can’t slip an “information capsule” into your latte or inject you with a syringe-full of knowledge when (if?) you come to class.
The fabulous website that supports the text is useless if you never go there. All the tutors and SI leaders on campus cannot help you if you don’t ask for help.
You cannot be the best you can be unless you’re willing to do all that you must do.