If my memory still works well, I remember I wrote an article about freshman entitled 9 Stupid Reasons Most Freshmen Make. It was one of the earliest pieces of my work that I did to begin my weblog, and fortunately enough, it got positive feedback from most of my readers. Hopefully this article which is also about freshmen will also receive good feedback.
Today I am a graduate student, which basically means I have gone through at least 4 years of what they call university life or to be exact, undergraduate study. Now, I know so much about academics that I wish I had known them before I undertook my undergraduate study at IFL. I think my academic performance would have been even much better than what I got even though what I did was almost excellent already.
In fact, there are many things that I wish I had known, and they are in the following. Hopefully, if you are a student, you can set and achieve all these 7 goals.
1. Accept Awards of Excellence
Unless academic world has extremely changed, I guess there are still many students who want to become outstanding students.
Honestly speaking, I have had this perspective since I was a freshman at IFL. I have always wanted to top my academic game, become the best in the field, and accept as many Awards of Excellence as possible.
When I was at IFL, I was not fortunate enough to receive any scholarship provision. My parents paid for everything including school tuition fee and other costs. Because I had to pay, I personally had all the reasons not to waste any moment I had or was given there. I used all the money I paid exhaustively, worked very hard as a student, and never lost sight of what I wanted—Awards of Excellence.
2. Know a lot of people—teachers and students
Believe me or not, becoming an outstanding student is not the end of everything for a student in this contemporary world since the rule of success has changed from what one knows to who one knows.
“Two heads are than one” is a famous saying and implies the meaning of collectivism and collaboration. Based on saying, it can be inferred that to become an outstanding student or a successful student, one may need more than just oneself. He/she may need help, wisdom, and motivation from other people such as their teachers and other students.
The ability to know other people depends pretty much on each student. Some students are naturally born networkers, thus being capable to quickly build friendships or relationships with other people. However, for some other students, it might take them a while to make themselves known/accepted by others and get to know other people like their classmates.
Fortunately, almost anyone can learn anything they want to know. So, if you are not quite certain whether you are a good networker, I suggest you study the subject of networking, people skills, or communication. Once mastered, one of these subjects might be able to help you become more convenient in talking to new people and make friends more quickly.
Caution: if you are a freshman, pay more attention to your academics first. Once you become an outstanding student, people will automatically know you. To learn more about this, read point number 2 in my other article: 9 Stupid Reasons Most Freshmen Make.
3. Maintain a good health
For a student, maintaining a good health is crucially important. I don’t know what else is more important and valuable than my health.
Unlike many people who would trade their health for other things such as work, study, or materials, I rarely if not never sacrifice my health for anything, not in an intentional way.
Without your health, what is the use of your accomplishments? For example, what is the meaning of becoming an outstanding student if you have insomnia or stomachache? How about staying in a hospital for a week after two-day cramming for your exams in order to As?
About three months ago while I was riding my motorbike around a park called Hun Sen Park in Phnom Penh, I saw a rich senior citizen like whom I’d never ever want to be. Barely walking out of his modern Mercedes, he was carried by his two bodyguards. He was rich or powerful that he had bodyguards. If I am not wrong, he went to stretch and get fresh air because he probably had been too sick like in coma or something. Of course, he was rich but what is value of having a lot of money that he could not spend happily?
As for you students, I strongly encourage you to take very good care of your health. Exercise regularly, eat well and sleep well. If possible, don’t consume alcoholic drinks (if you want to know why, read 9 reasons students should not consume alcoholic drinks). No matter how busy you are or important your work is, don’t lost sight of your health; never let your busyness eat away at your health.
4. Gain beneficial general knowledge
Have you ever seen a person who knows nothing besides his field of knowledge? For me, I’ve seen many and somehow don’t like this type of people.
When I was in university, I admit I did not know how general knowledge could be that important for a person who wants to be successful in life. However, now that I am an entrepreneur, I am positively convinced that a person’s general knowledge is as important as or even more important than their specialized knowledge.
Briefly, a person who has a broad range of general knowledge gains benefits as follows:
- Relate more easily to more people since they can talk about many topics.
- Save money because they don’t necessarily have to depend on people to do things beyond their specialized knowledge.
- Have more choices in life like choosing a career.
Now as for you, while you are in university, don’t focus only on getting a skill. For instance, if you study to become a doctor, don’t study just your skill to become a doctor; instead, also grab as much general knowledge as possible to become a fully-functioning person, much more than a doctor.
5. Get a decent paying job
Obviously, this point might seem confusing to you since you might have almost always thought that any student has an outlook to get a decent paying job after their graduation. Yet, I want to surprise you that many students don’t really have this perspective at all; all they want is just a job.
Of course, having a job is important for any student after their graduation. That a graduate is able to get a career actually represents that they have wisely and correctly used their time at school and that they will have a good future.
A recently graduated student (in 2009), I completely understand how difficult it is for any student to find a good job, thus making many students choose to stick to whatever job they can find instead of finding the one that gives them enough money to support their living costs.
Believe me, there are many students who are setting a goal to get a job. But when they realize their goal, they tend to cry instead of feeling happy. Why? It is because they set too low a goal. For example, a student may set a goal to get a job between 150-200 dollars a month since it is the average salary any freshly graduated student in Cambodia gets. This goal sounds good, but once it is realized, the student will be more disappointed than happy since the amount of money is too little for them to enjoy.
So, if you are a freshman and are planning to get a job after you graduate, I suggest you plan for the one that pays you well, enough for you to survive happily. (If you want advice on what kind of job you should take, check my other article: Best Job to Take after Graduation)
6. Become an entrepreneur
Like getting a decent paying job, becoming an entrepreneur is not an easy thing. Many students know about this and want to become an entrepreneur, yet they may choose to ignore it since it is so difficult to achieve.
As an entrepreneur (I founded an educational company after my graduation), I can and must tell you that becoming an entrepreneur is possible and achievable. You don’t need any special knowledge or more skills than anyone. All you need is an entrepreneurial mindset: taking risk. Becoming an entrepreneur or a businessperson is like working as an employee. While an employee takes risk between getting the job assigned done and getting paid/fired, an entrepreneur takes risk between getting the job done and getting bankrupt.
Even though it is possible, I’d not encourage to quickly set out as an entrepreneur if you are not so sure whether you can handle the pressure. An entrepreneur or a businessperson usually undergoes many sorts of pressure from financial to mental pressure. Yet, if you are confident you can take the pressure, go ahead because the benefits are so immense. For instance, you earn much more money than being an employee.
7. Contribute something worthwhile to the world.
Albert Einstein once said “Try to become more like a man of value than a man of success”. I personally can’t agree with him more.
I am not being pessimistic, but I’ve observed that more and more people are becoming so selfish, greedy and individualistic. They just work for their wants or needs without caring of anything or anyone at all. To be rich and successful, these people can do anything such as sell drugs to teenagers, deforest without giving a dime about the world’s laudable climate change campaigns, forcefully evict people off their legally owned land because the price of land skyrockets, buy and sell children and women to become prostitutes or slaves, and etc.
For you students, I strongly and really encourage you to become a person of value to the world like Albert Einstein advised. Think long-term, not short-term. Your action today could possibly affect the future of your children or even grandchildren. Be an agent of god, not evil. Join the force of good, not bad. Make the world a more pleasant and happier place to live.
Conclusion, when I was a student in high school or university, I was not lucky enough to learn these Self Development points. Almost no one taught me to have these perspectives. Yet, thanks to my pursuit to study Personal Development through reading and/or talking to people, I was able to make up my mind for something great. What I learnt then were almost all of the 7 perspectives I just shared with you. Now that you know them all, I hope you instill them into your mindset, thus taking their benefits to their utmost extent.
Stay tuned in www.teplivina.com for more Self Help insights and articles.