How to Have Success in School

1Success in school could be easier for students if they apply some simple techniques.

To write that I was a poor student in high school would be an understatement. My last semester in high school was a 1.6 GPA. I was a “C” average student all through grade school, junior high and high school. I always did my homework and often it was incorrect but because I at least did it I would receive credit for it.

However, when I got to college I excelled in academics. My last three years of college I made the Dean’s List (I had a 3.0 GPA or better) all of those semesters. I even went on for my Master’s degree in Divinity. How did a terrible student become better almost over night? Well I will share the strategies I used and if they worked on me then I know they can work on anybody who is willing.

My success in school had nothing to do with my maturity or simply studying harder or even smarter. It had everything to do with my approach to school and my studies. My old approach netted me terrible grades and anxiety about even being at school. My new approach empowered me in my studies and created a desire for knowledge and education that was not there before. When I was in elementary school I developed a horrible stuttering problem. I had trouble attempting to communicate even the most simplest of sentences. I also had a hearing problem and later was in need of glasses. Yes I was a real mess.

Therefore, I fell behind and was always trailing the other students. Instead of being the “Cardinal Reading” group (the superior readers), I found myself in the “Bluejay Reading” group. I had a defeatist attitude toward school until my first semester of Community College in Owensboro, Kentucky. There I met a teacher who changed my school life. Instead of lecturing me on why I was a bad student, she encouraged me to believe that I could do well and I made a decision to believe her.

Below is a list of strategies that can help students with school success.

  1. The Past is the Past. Start each class with a clean slate. This is highly important especially if a student is struggling. Often we bring yesterdays failures into the new day that we have. Each class I had in high school I carried the baggage. The past is the past and give yourself permission to allow it stay in the past. Forgive yourself for the grades of the past. We only have right now, today.
  2. Visualize Success. Often I found myself anxious or thinking I was going to fail a test and inevitably I would. Once in college I began to visualize myself actually taking tests with confidence and succeeding. Confidence is key to performance in anything in life and especially in school. When the new semester starts I would have your student close their eyes and picture what grades they do want and write them down. The more they picture them and get emotionally involved the more they’ll transform those old limiting beliefs to new ones of success.
  3. Trust Your Brain. If you have studied then trust what you have read over and memorized. Believe it or not the information is in your head. When the test paper appears before you then relax and put down what you have studied and trust your brain to recall everything. Doubt and fear are destructive emotions and we must replace those with confidence and trust.

These are simple strategies however they are important and often students approach test taking with anxiety and worry. Those feelings are a major reason for poor performance. Anxiety does not help anyone perform at their peak. Relaxation is key as well as the thoughts we think. If you would like help in transforming your thought life or to help others then please get a free copy of my new book Game Plan: The Philippians 4:8 Guide to Better Thinking. 

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