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By Josiah Prindler
I hope you have an open mind because what I have to say really could flip your world upside down. But ultimately, that is entirely up to you.
You are signed up for a college program and you’re probably nervous. You want to get all those A’s or at the very least, you really want to pass. I’m going to tell you how to get the most out of your college education. It is all about your mindset and work ethic.
It all starts with your mindset. Firstly, I want you to ask yourself this: How much do you care? Do you want to get as close to perfect as you can get, or do you just want to pass? How much do you really care about receiving and retaining knowledge from this program?
In other words: What is your goal? Is it to get A’s for the sake of A’s? Or is it to actually learn all this new stuff that you didn’t know before? The pursuit of knowledge is its own reward.
If you are anything like me, you want to get A’s because there is no other option in your mind, but my goal is to learn as much as I can in the time I have there. If you’re like me and you are all about soaking up the beautiful knowledge and getting the most bang for your buck, then the rest of this is for you.
You need to determine your mindset as soon as you can. It is all about one thing: having confidence even when making mistakes. The goal of this blog is to inspire or enable you to be confident even if you are naturally the least confident person on the planet.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you:
Realize that nobody really cares about your insecurities or mistakes, nobody really thinks you are an idiot for answering an in-class question wrong, and if you mess up and are embarrassed and everyone laughs at you…. They don’t care enough to remember that the next week or even the next day. Everyone is too busy thinking about themselves and worrying about being judged themselves.
Realizing that everyone is too busy looking at themselves to really notice or care what you do or how you seem to appear, is essential. You have to realize that what you do doesn’t matter, not to everyone else. It only matters to you and you have the ability to decide how much you are going to let the fear of what others might think and the fear of failure control you.
Even if everyone does think you’re a complete fool, that doesn’t matter either. You don’t have to care what they think. You can decide that you don’t care about that and you can choose to care about learning as much as you can and really understanding the material presented to you.
Most people believe that what they care about is out of their control, but that’s just not factual. If you pattern your behavior to care about what you want to care about and to not care about the things you know you shouldn’t care about, like being judged, your brain will make your emotions and desires match with your actions.
Here is a little secret, you have tremendous power through what you do. Not through willpower alone, but through willpower and actions, you can be exactly the way you want to be. You have a freedom to be confident or even pretend to be confident and mess up all the time and be happy doing it because you are soaking up knowledge like a sponge. That is a superpower most people never get access to.
Here is the kicker to all of this… Choosing to live confidently and not being afraid to sound stupid in front of people, actually attracts people. Not caring what other people think, and making your mistakes for the sake of learning gains an awe and respect from people who wish they had the same abilities you have. So this advice that is basically to toss aside your fears and become confident, not only increases your understanding of the college material but it also gets you friends, if you want those.
Now what kind of fearless confident actions should you do and how will they grant you academic success?
Show up to every class and lab even if you don’t need too. It shows the professors you care about learning and not just getting grades, (but you clearly care a lot about that too).
Sit in the front row for the same reason and also to have the clearest audio and visual of the material.
Ask questions in class. Even the stupidest littlest things. Ask, ask, ask. This is when you are tossing aside the fear of looking like an idiot and just embracing the fact that you don’t know and want to know. There is no shame in just admitting to the professor in front of the class that you have no clue what they are talking about and you would like them to please rephrase or re-explain. Chances are, you aren’t alone, and people will respect your boldness. You will leave every class smarter if doing learning the open way.
Another way to leave every class smarter is to answer questions. Even if you are less than 50% sure about it being the right answer, take a guess. The glory of this is that it is a win-win with memory. If you answer a question correctly in front of the whole class, you will remember that bit of knowledge. If you answer a question dead wrong in front of the whole class, you will be corrected, and you will remember that bit of knowledge even more so. If you let other people do all of the talking and answer all the questions, you are far less likely to retain the information. A bonus to this is that the more you volunteer yourself, the less you will be called upon against your will. Professors do that to the people that don’t speak up on their own.
Study after every class. Enough to know exactly what professors were talking about in class. Understand every point professors taught, the same day. This way every test review will all be stuff you already have a firm grasp on. You’re basically always test ready that way. Pop quizzes shall fear YOU.
I recommend always knowing what you did wrong after every test, assignment, case study, essay, etc. Always follow up with the professor to find out how you can improve, whether it is through email or meeting. You may end up getting some marks back as a bonus, but the goal is to learn from your mistakes. Always approach the situation with a humble how can I do better? I don’t want this to happen again. Please help me understand professor attitude.
You may be thinking that you are not talkative or outgoing and that you can’t do any of this. I ask you again, how much do you care? If you need to put on an eager student persona and act outside your comfort zone, then you have the power to do that. Remember you are doing it for knowledge’s sake and your efforts will show in your grades.
If your mindset doesn’t have you on a path where you are willing to work for your success, change that through working despite what you feel like. Your emotions will follow your actions in time. In conclusion, you will be as successful as you choose to be. You will learn as much as you desire to. It is all under your control. Your decisions matter to you first and foremost.
Win the battle in your head first, then win everywhere else. Go get ’em tiger.
Josiah Prindler is in his second year and final semester of Health and Fitness Promotion, has been a tutor since Fall of 2019, and been in the Royal Canada Reserves since Winter 2018.
Josiah intends to take his studies and his military experience to the field to continue learning and work as a personal trainer for CFMWS (Canadian Forces Moral and Welfare Services).