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START RIGHT. Strategies for success in Higher Education and beyond

Textbook 2014 85 Pages

Pedagogy - General

Excerpt

TABLE OF CONTENTS

START RIGHT

FOREWORD

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

DEDICATION

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER ONE
WHAT IS YOUR MISSION?
IN ALL THINGS GOD FIRST
THE EDUCATION YOU WILL OBTAIN AS A STUDENT
SETTING GOALS: THE SYSTEMATIC PLANNING TO SUCCESS
Know yourself before setting your goals
Set realistic, attainable goals
Evaluate your goals over time
Update your goals with time
BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT
BE CONSCIENTIOUS
THE PATHWAY TO SUCCESS
1. Self-confidence
2. Positive Mental Orientation
3. Commitment
4. Enthusiasm
5. Self expression
6. Suggestions
7. Relaxation
8. Aptitude for Happiness
9. Success

CHAPTER TWO
ACCEPT DIVERSITY AS PART OF LIFE
ADAPT TO THE NEW ENVIRONMENT
BE OPEN AND HONEST: LET OTHERS KNOW YOU
NOT EVERYONE MAKES A GOOD FRIEND

CHAPTER THREE
THE VALUE OF TIME MANAGEMENT
IDENTIFY WHERE YOUR TIME GOES
1. Control your communication
2. Get away from distractions
3. Find other ways
4. Just say ‘no’
5. “Under-promise”
SET PRIORITIES
PLAN YOUR ACTIVITIES
Get your academic calendar
Obtain your time table
Prepare your to-do list
FIGHT PROCRASTINATION
Causes of procrastination
REMEDIES FOR PROCRASTINATION
Rational Self-talk
Positive self-statements
3. Don't “catastrophise”
4. Set clear goals
5. Prioritise your tasks
6. Break big tasks into smaller pieces
7. Start with the easiest task
8. Get organised
9. Commit yourself
10. Work in a group
11. Use prompts
12. Reward yourself when the job is done

CHAPTER FOUR
WHAT IS YOUR LEARNING STYLE?
The Receptive Learning Styles
How do you process information?
Your learning style is influenced by your brain processing style
Your personality affects your learning styles
IDENTIFY YOUR TEACHER’S TEACHING STYLE

CHAPTER FIVE
PREPARE BEFORE COMING TO CLASS
Know the course objectives
Complete assignments before your class
Skim through your note before class starts
Have all tools and materials you need
PUT YOURSELF TOGETHER IN CLASS
Go to class early
Sit where you're comfortable
ADAPT TO YOUR LECTURER'S STYLE
PROCESS INFORMATION: DO NOT COPY
ASK QUESTIONS IN CLASS
Improving your question-asking abilities
REVIEW YOUR NOTES AFTER CLASS
TAKE NOTES AS YOU STUDY
LEARN FOR UNDERSTANDING, NOT SPEED
IDENTIFY YOUR PRIME TIME AND ATTENTION SPAN

CHAPTER SIX
STRATEGISE FOR THE EXAMS
TACKLING THE EXAM
DO NOT CHEAT

CHAPTER SEVEN
TYPES OF STRESS
Daily hassles
Personal stress
Cataclysmic events
THE EFFECTS OF STRESS
WHAT IS STRESSING YOU?
AVOIDING STRESS
Eat right
Sleep well
Exercise regularly
Avoid drug abuse
COPING WITH STRESS
Relax
Take charge

CHAPTER EIGHT
KNOW YOUR INCOME SOURCES
BUDGET FOR EVERYTHING
YOUR BUDGET SHOULD ADD UP
REVIEW YOUR BUDGET OVER TIME

CHAPTER NINE
ARE YOU READY FOR IT?
IS HE/SHE REALLY THE ONE FOR YOU?
ARE YOU PREPARED TO PAY THE PRICE?
DOES IT BENEFIT YOU?
COMMUNICATION IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
AVOIDING AND RESOLVING CONFLICT IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
SURVIVING BREAK-UPS

CHAPTER TEN
LESSONS LEARNT
PLAN! PLAN!! PLAN!!!
COMMUNICATE CLEARLY WITH OTHERS
WHAT TO DO NEXT?

REFERENCES

INTRODUCTION

Everyone wants to excel in his or her education but not everyone does. Why? The reason: several students lack practical guidance and assistance to help them do so. As a student, you need to tap into the tried-and-proven experiences of those who have made it to help you carve your way to success.

This book, START RIGHT, identifies major obstacles that confront students, and provides strategies to overcome such impediments to ensure success. It outlines guidelines to assist you in strategising, persevering, adjusting, and meandering your way to the top. The thrust of the book is to help you start your studies right and end it right.

The writing style presented throughout the book is simple and consistent with the preference of students. Issues are presented in interesting, practical, and tactical format, geared towards spurring you on to success.

Nothing works in theory, only in application. The author presents, in this book, the tried-and-proven paths that successful students have been following for some time now, and have been useful to them. You are therefore required to apply the principles touched on here in order to reap the maximum benefits. Without your efforts, this book only consists of words. I therefore entreat you to commit some time into making this a reality.

So go on, enjoy the book, practise the skills, and prepare for your success!

Thomas Karikari

April 2014

CHAPTER ONE

WHY AM I HERE?

To obtain a degree improves your knowledge, but to obtain education improves yourself

Congratulations!!! You made it. Your efforts paid off. You are now on a higher rung on the ladder of education. But why are you here? Why did you choose to be here but nowhere else? Why would you prefer nothing else to continuing your education? I am sorry to tell you that if you don't have any reason, then you should not be here. It is commonly said that a long journey begins with a single step. But before you take that crucial first step in the intellectual journey of higher education, you need to plan for several things, which include asking yourself:

- What do I want to achieve here on campus?
- How am I going to reach my aspired goals?
- How would I know if I have arrived there?

The key to success is that you plan systematically towards every aspect of your aspirations.

There are varying reasons why people continue their education. Some want to land on better jobs, others want to learn more about people and the world, whilst some students say they are continuing their education because their parents asked them to. However, the value of higher education stretches far beyond bread winning and parents asking you to do so. Undoubtedly, there is a lot of importance attached to furthering your education.

Here are some of the things you'll familiarise yourself with on campus:

1. Learn to think and communicate better

Higher education improves your ability to understand the dynamics of the world and people as they are and will be. It provides you with tools capable of handling situations in which you will find yourself in life. It is not only about the course you offer or which grades you obtain. It is more about learning to think and communicate better. Wherever you end up after your education, you will need to be able to analyse and solve complex problems – to figure out what needs to be done and to do it properly.

2. To be better adapted to new situations

Institutions of higher learning form a whole new world from that of high school. In higher education, you are treated as an adult and are confronted with new challenges such as; managing your life your own way without strict supervision, short notices for quizzes, short deadlines for assignments, etc. Your adaptation to these situations will surely prepare you for the future.

3. To better appreciate a world of diversity

You will be meeting people of diverse social, ethnic, religious, economic, and educational backgrounds and you should be at peace with them all – those whose lifestyles and philosophies are in line with yours and others whose ideologies can easily get you angry. Yet you should welcome diversity and seek to be at peace with them all.

4. To make learning a never-ending habit

The education you receive here will build up your natural inquisitiveness to know more about things in this world. It will make you appreciate that learning is a never-ending act. Consciously or otherwise, you will continue to learn in life beyond your formal education – as an employee, as a spouse, a parent, etc. Higher education prepares you for this life-long development.

5. To better appreciate the importance of contributing your quota to the human race.

Regardless of the course you offer, you will be in a position to contribute positively in various ways to society. Higher education equips you with the capacity to appreciate and understand the significance of your contribution to our world, and the means to do so.

WHAT IS YOUR MISSION?

“By clearly spelling out your values, you are in a good position to formulate your short- and long-term goals”

Business experts believe that the first sign of a strong business venture is a viable business plan. They hold the view that every business must define its purpose for existence and then create a strategy to accomplish that purpose. This approach is similarly very useful to other facets of life including the educational environment. We always need to define what we want to achieve and then create a strategy (or strategies) to get them accomplished.

You must be in higher education for a reason – your mission. You therefore need to ensure that you measure up to that goal at any point in time. One means of keeping touch with your educational mission is to create a simple statement of purpose that captures what you seek to achieve. As a student, it will be useful to have a mission statement: a statement that describes you in terms of your personal objectives, long-term goals, guiding principles, how you desire to live your life on campus, and what you want to acquire from here. It describes your dreams academically, religiously, socially, economically, etc. Having a mission statement ensures that you lead your life according to spelt-out rules and regulations.

Consider this mission statement that was created by student John:

“My mission is to become a first class social scientist by the time I graduate, and use my knowledge to work on projects that will help improve the quality of lives of others. Additionally, I would like to form useful and meaningful relationships with God and other students I meet on campus.”

John’s statement captures, in two sentences, his academic goal – to graduate with a first class degree, career goal – to apply his knowledge and skills to benefit humanity, relationship goal – to have a close walk with God and get along well with fellow students.

Do you like his? Then you should create your own mission statement. It will be ideal to get your mission statement close enough to you so that it keeps reminding you of your long-term objectives at all times. You may use it as a welcome note on your phone; paste it on your room wall or by the bedside, or any other conspicuous place to be a reminder.

IN ALL THINGS GOD FIRST

Without God, nothing is possible

No matter your religion, you believe in GOD. You believe in the God Almighty who controls everything in this world and beyond. Without Him, nothing is possible. Your efforts and abilities alone can take you nowhere. He is the one who crowns them all. There are things you have control over, others are just unchangeable by you. You therefore need to establish a meaningful relationship with Him to make your dream a reality, and life worth living.

THE EDUCATION YOU WILL OBTAIN AS A STUDENT

‘’Education, both formal and informal, is critical to one’s social and academic development’’

There are two kinds of education you are very likely to encounter during your time as a student.

- The education you receive from others, and
- The education you give yourself.

As you came here to receive education, you will certainly be educated by others; including your lecturers, course mates, roommates, friends, etc. But one critical improvement you can give yourself is to teach yourself based on the new experiences. Students normally focus on the education they obtain from others, relegating the one they give themselves. You are not here only to be under the tutelage of your lecturers. If you always wait to be taught by others, you may be missing important aspects of your educational mission, both in and outside the classroom. You need to learn from your encounter with people, new experiences, new environment, and the new situations. Remember that we all take clues from others. Be open-minded and have a broad view of issues. Remember that you will not obtain only formal classroom education here. You should learn informally too as informal education is very critical to your betterment socially and academically.

SETTING GOALS: THE SYSTEMATIC PLANNING TO SUCCESS

A goal setter makes sure to accomplish what needs to be accomplished to achieve a long-term objective

A well-proven way to success is to employ goal-setting strategies. Setting well-defined goals enables you to channel your efforts towards achieving something important to you. Goal setting gives you a target and enables you to develop the self-discipline required to achieve that target.

To succeed in your education, you need to set both long and short-term goals. Long-term goals are objectives relating to your major achievements that take some time to accomplish, whilst short-term goals are limited steps that are taken towards accomplishing the long-term goals. To be successful in the long term, you must be successful short term. For instance, your long-term goal may be to obtain a first class honours degree. But to achieve that, you need to have short-term goals such as thoroughly understanding what is taught in class, completing and submitting assignments in time and obtaining good grades in all exams.

Know yourself before setting your goals

Obviously, you know who you are. You know your name, hometown and former school. But there's more to it. You have a unique history and genetic constitution that is unlike anyone else's. Goal setting starts with knowing yourself. Knowing what is and what is not important to you, your learning style, your information processing ability and your personality style. You do not have to do exactly what others do to achieve their aims; their styles might not be the same as yours. Do it your own way. Discover and improve yourself. Some adjustment may be necessary but not at the expense of your set goals. Only ensure that your goals are in tune with your long-term objectives.

Set realistic, attainable goals

We would all love to graduate with distinction, to be the best students ever to have enrolled in our institutions of study, to obtain 100% mark in every exam we undertake. But only a few of us are likely to attain those heights. You only have to be honest with yourself. Know your abilities and capabilities, and base on them to set your goals.

Set goals you can achieve. You cannot accomplish abstract goals. Also, your goals have to be aligned with each other. For instance, the four tires of a car always have to be properly aligned to ensure that the car moves in the desired direction. Imagine a car with the front tires facing a particular direction and the rear tires pointing elsewhere. What will happen? Goals are just like that. They all must be pointed in the same direction. If your goals conflict with one another, the desired results may not be achieved.

Evaluate your goals over time

A useful approach to goal getting is to remember where you started and appreciate how much you have accomplished. Consider how you're faring and relate it to the kind of results you want to obtain in the long term. If you're on the right path, then keep doing it that way. If not, trace what and where went wrong and fix it. For instance, if you want to obtain grade ‘A’ in a course and you see yourself performing poorly in quizzes and tests, then you must pause and check what's wrong. Maybe you did not really understand the course material. You might have to meet the lecturer or colleagues who did well to help you out.

Update your goals with time

Your goals will evolve with your life circumstances. Update your goals over time as you consider your changing priorities and resources.

BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve it” – Napoleon Hill

Your thoughts are the basis of most things that happened to you in the past, and those that will happen to you in the future. Look around you right now. Everything you see started as an idea, a picture or a thought in the mind of the person who discovered it. If Thomas Edison could take us from candle to light bulb and the Wright brothers from road transport to air transport, then clearly your ability to create anything and everything you want is limited only by your imagination and tenacity.

Do you sincerely believe that you have the will power to excel here on campus? Believe you can do it and truly you can, together with hard work and discipline. People have done it before and you can also do it. Their potentials were not better than yours. You are as capable as they were, or maybe better. Being self-confident is a very crucial aspect of your success as an individual.

Aside believing in your ability to excel, it is worth knowing that your quest of academic excellence might never be smooth. Challenging situations are bound to arise. But anytime things get tough, you need self-reinforcement. Be ready to pick yourself up when you are feeling down. All successful individuals have tasted difficulty before. They never had everything perfect. But they were finally successful because they were able to surmount all obstacles that confronted them. They did not give up but rather fought back their challenges.

Let me tell you how Michael Jordan, the great basketball player rose above his challenges to become that great. He had to believe in himself to get there. One morning, Michael woke up to see a list of players who had made the university basketball team on the notice board. He looked up and down the list but didn't find his name. He couldn't make the team. By the time other players were receiving invitations from coaches recruiting them into their teams, Jordan didn't receive a single letter. But he didn't give up. He believed in himself and in his abilities. He trained better and longer. He improved his performance. The subsequent year he made the team and subsequently became a star.

You need to appreciate that things shall not be perfect here. You might not obtain 100% mark in every exam you sit for. You won't always easily understand everything taught in class. Yet, you need to remain committed towards achieving your aims. People who advance in life believe in themselves. They support their belief with dynamic, insistent actions that propel them into eventual success.

BE CONSCIENTIOUS

Finish what you start. Care about what you are doing, and do it right. Although being conscientious is not as easy as giving up, we feel better when we are successful in the end. You need to painstakingly endure the changing times to excel in your education.

Complacency is the enemy of growth. Mastering the art of focusing your mind on your goals in order to succeed is a very powerful skill. To be a genius, you need to be focused. Although you may get disappointed sometimes in the bid to attain your goals, the will and determination to try again remains an essential element of survival and progress in your life.

Although you always have a choice, you do not have to do everything you feel like doing. You have to do what is important enough to warrant your efforts. Think of the positive effects of your actions—the reasons why you are a student. There is a clear difference between taking an action because something of value is at stake, and taking an action because you are compelled to do so. Is anyone compelling you to continue your education? I believe the answer is ‘no’. When you see all the options you have, you appreciate and value the choices you make. There were several other choices, but you chose to continue your education. So let your goals guide you. It does not take everything you have, and everything you can get your hands on to reach your desired destination. It takes a plan and the patience to follow the needed steps.

THE PATHWAY TO SUCCESS

To get to your desired successful destination, you usually need to have been through nine major routes; self-confidence, positive mental orientation, commitment, enthusiasm, self-expression, suggestion, relaxation, aptitude for happiness, and finally, success:

1. Self-confidence

Self-confidence is the basis of a strong and fully developed personality. Having self-confidence means knowing what your capabilities are. Trying out your mental capacities can be quite frightening because of the risk of failure involved. Yet you possess so many hidden potentials just waiting for a chance to reveal themselves. If only you could liberate those potentials imprisoned inside you, then you could show the world that you are worth more than you think of yourself today. Be confident that you are capable enough of success and you shall surely succeed. But be cautious not to be overconfident because it could harm you. Overconfident people belittle everything; they do not take time to study anything before venturing. Never fall a victim to it.

2. Positive Mental Orientation

You need to be positive with your thoughts. Be optimistic you will succeed and you shall make it. You have to do away with negative mentality and pessimism because they create a morbid, perverse condition. You create or destroy your own happiness, by the way you think. Having a positive mentality makes success easier to achieve because no matter how things go, you still believe you will make it. You thus keep fighting till the end. But when you are pessimistic, you even doubt your own abilities and easily give up when things get tough. For instance, a pessimistic, low self-esteemed student convinced he will perform poorly on a test gives up immediately upon realising at the exam hall that the questions on the exam paper are not exactly what he mastered for.

3. Commitment

Once you have decided to succeed, you must be dedicated and loyal to your dream. You have signed a contract with yourself to be successful and you do not have to renege on your promise. You need to demonstrate to yourself and others that you can do what you say you can. Commitment is a force, which focuses your entire being on attaining the goals you set for yourself. Once you have a goal, you should throw yourself into whatever activities are required to achieve it. It is commitment that has allowed all great people throughout history to accomplish what they did.

4. Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is the motivation and zeal that drives us to create and accomplish our dreams. It is said that nothing great is ever achieved without enthusiasm. Enthusiasm can change your world for the better. You need to be enthusiastic about the course you offer, the classes you attend, the things you learn, and all you do here. Enthusiastic people are curious, idealistic and persevering. They feel assured of themselves and are not pessimistic. They transform their potentials into reality by allowing their greatness to rise above all the petty problems of day-to-day existence. By training your body to adopt an enthusiastic attitude, you can influence your inner self to focus on accomplishing your dreams. Couple your hard work with enthusiasm and you can climb to the top of the success mountain.

5. Self expression

Self-expression is a means of letting the best part of you shine forth. Let others know who you are. Express your thoughts, deeds, opinions, efforts, and positions clearly to others. Let your hard work pay off. In class, articulate yourself by asking and answering questions. When it's exam time, express yourself well to be worthy of the marks to be awarded.

Also, be open to others; let them know who you are. Let friends, roommates and course mates know your likes and dislikes – such that they can treat you how you want them to. Moreover, know that your posture, facial expression, speech, and clothing, are all expressions of your personality. So be cautious how you make others perceive you to be. Express yourself in your own way, and do not copy others. You also have to respect others and accept the way they express themselves too.

6. Suggestions

People will make uncountable suggestions to you; some are useful, others are harmful. You do not have to accept every idea you hear. However, there are times you need to accept the suggestions people make to you. There are sincere suggestions that if adopted, can change your life for the better. To decide whether to accept someone's opinion or not, objectively analyse yourself and see how the suggestions, if adopted, fit into your long-term goals.

7. Relaxation

You can accomplish a lot more work when you are relaxed than when you are tensed. These are times you need to relaxed, and objectively assess every aspect of your life. Know what you are doing well and keep doing it, and identify what's not smooth and fix it. These times of relaxed evaluation help you to re-strategise for better results. Never rush through it.

Moreover, you need to have physical rest as it re-energises and revitalises you. Life is a series of repeated phases: the active phase when body and mind are energetically working; the rest phase during which your mental faculties and muscles are on standby; and finally sleep where physical bodily functions slow down and the conscious mind is at a minimal. These three states of consciousness are essential for maintaining life and renewing the energy we spend. Humans normally get trapped in a situation where we do not rest properly. So we wake up fatigued, sluggish and depressed. Real relaxation, the result of mental and physical balance, is a whole new way of life, a series of positive habits, which you must acquire.

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Details

Pages
85
Year
2014
ISBN (eBook)
9783656642619
ISBN (Book)
9783656642602
File size
695 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v271994
Grade
Tags
start right strategies higher education

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Title: START RIGHT. Strategies for success in Higher Education and beyond