how to succeed

8 Things Successful Students Do

Hey everyone! A lovely man named Mike Strangstalien, MA, MFT, LPC, NCC decided to compile a list of 8 things successful people do. He has been working on this list since 1994 and continues to update this list as he does more research. I decided to share some of his amazing work here with you all by summarizing his main points. Enjoy and good luck!

1. They raise their hand in class.

Now, this may seem trivial and sometimes you’re left with the question, “How can I speak up in class if I don’t even know what I don’t know?”. However, its been proven that people who raise their hand and ask questions tend to do better. If you are unsure of a question to ask, a good technique is to go home and review the material and the next day at the beginning of class, ask your question. This not only gets you to actively participate in class, but you begin to think about the information you learned and are able to commit it to long term memory.

2. They establish routine and structure.

During the day you should try to complete your homework so that at night you can spend your time studying, reviewing and consolidating. Its been proven that studying something before bed can commit it to long term memory. Doing work at night when you’re tired can lead to poor performance and may not commit things to memory if its the first time you’re seeing the information. 

Also, try to go to bed BEFORE 1:30 am! Why is this important? Your serotonin is used up during the day (about 90%)  and is reassembled if you get to bed by 1:30. If you go to bed past 1:30 twice in a row, you miss your key opportunity to replace it and you’re left with only 10%! Do this again and you’re down to only 1%. This affects your concentration, focus, attention, motivation and memory. 

3. They go to office hours.

Those who go to office hours at least 8 times during the semester yield, on average, 0.5-1.2 grade points HIGHER than their non-attending counter parts. The main reason people don’t go to office hours is a fear of looking “dumb”. However, if you just admit to your professor or TA that you’re completely lost, they can help re-teach. Remember to be honest about your confusion because otherwise they may start their explanation off the assumption that you already know something and you’ll have wasted your time and your professor’s. This can be the difference between a C and an A! 

4. They prepare for each lecture.

Preparation for each lecture is essential. Begin by reviewing any information from the last lecture within 24 hours of first receiving this information, otherwise you lose valuable time to commit it to long term memory. Additionally, quick read assigned readings so that the lecture can consolidate what you read. After the lecture, spend about 5 minutes summarizing the major points and look up any vocabulary you didn’t recognize. This all compiles into the three-read principle. 1. Read the textbook (or other materials) beforehand. 2. Reread after the lecture and try to find the main points in the reading. 3. Reread a third time and write notes as though you plan to teach the information. This means simplifying and not writing down unnecessary information. 

5. They remain actively involved when learning, attending lecture, and while studying. 

I have a post about active studying techniques which you can find here. Active learning requires not only that you consciously try to pay attention, but also that you maintain your motivation to learn the material, the willingness to complete the tasks at hand needed to learn it, and saying to yourself, “I am excited to learn something new and I am thankful that I have the opportunity to do it”. Remember, there are kids in other countries literally dying for the right to an education. Your education is luxury, not a right. Additionally, every 15 minutes, stop and ask yourself, “how does this fit into the main idea,” and “what is it that I just read and how can I form study questions from it?”. 

6. They take responsibility for their learning.

Although your professor is there to provide you with the information, it is not their job to make sure you learn it. Often times students fail because they expect the professor to try hard to help them. This is a harmful way of thinking and it can lead to failed exams. Those who take responsibility will make sure they seek help when they need it and they will make sure they search for resources outside of what is provided. If you’re really struggling with a concept, try Kahn Academy, YouTube or asking a TA. Its up to you to earn the A, not your professor. Also, keep track of your own grades and assignments that you turn in. This way if you need to see someone for help, you’re not disadvantaged because you waited until the grades were updated online after you threw away graded papers. 

7. They understand the work load and are prepared to study 7 days a week.

Not everyone can study for hours on end every day. For this reason, those who are successful make sure they break down their studying into 25 minute intervals. Additionally, make sure you touch on this information every single day to keep your brain ready for the class when it comes time and you can avoid procrastination. You also need to be prepared for repeated exposure. This means reviewing the same material 3-7 times. This highly increases your likelihood to not only learn the information for exam, but not become guilty of the “pump-and-dump”. This is especially helpful for anyone pursuing medical school or graduate school. 

8. They have no use for negative self-talk and they are honest with themselves.

You cant commit things to memory if you feel down or you are angry with yourself! Those who are successful maintain the mentality of, “I know that hard work and commitment will lead to success,” and, “I am capable, intelligent, and worthy of excellent grades”. They also understand that any grade they receive is earned and not given. Additionally, they understand that even at the end of the day, if they get bad grades they know for a fact that they tried their hardest. Self-criticism can be more harmful than good. Never scold yourself for missing homework, doing bad on an exam, or being confused. Instead, search for ways to actually CHANGE your behavior. A change in you mentality may sound silly, but it may be the difference between having the motivation to study a little harder and laying in bed feeling bad about yourself. BE HONEST. If you are really struggling and going to office hours and studying isn't helping, drop your pride and try to find a tutor. If a tutor isn’t in the books for you due to financial situations, explain this to your professor and see if you can schedule more one-on-one time. 

The Key to Success 🔑

LEARN. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from your success. 
Be passionate about learning.

Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.”

- Morihei Ueshiba

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There’s no such thing as what you ‘should’ be doing with your life. If you’re not holding yourself back from something you really want to try, and you enjoy the way you spend your day, then you’re a smashing success.
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How to Overcome FAILure

So recently I heard of a great acronym that I thought I should share with you all, and make a post all about it! Here is the acronym

Fail

Assess

Internalize

Learn

And that is how you move past failure! So let’s break that down, shall we?

F is for Fail

As my favorite band, Coldplay, once said,

You have to try in order to fail. Who knows you might just succeed! Always give it your best shot. What is the worst that could actually happen? Some people find it comforting to imagine the worst case scenario or even to journal about it. It can help relieve some of the stress! Another method of anxiety-relief can be coming up with a “Plan B” and “Plan C”!

A is for Assess

When you fail, one of the first steps towards succeeding the next time is assessing what went wrong, and why you failed.

I like to write this out and put it into two categories:

Column 1: External Factors

External factors are things that lead to your failure but were outside of your control. Here are some examples:

1. Being sick while taking a test

2. Someone else’s fault- They got involved when they shouldn’t have, they didn’t do their group work etc. 

3. Bad Luck

There are a lot more examples of external (and internal) factors that can lead to failure. These are just some!

Column 2: Internal Factors:

Be honest! These are the things that were your fault that might have lead to your failure:

1. Lack of Sleep

2. Got distracted (could also be external)

3. Didn’t study or try hard enough

Many things, such as distraction, can be both internal and external. Try to be honest in your analysis of what was actually to blame for this failure. Try to control external factors as much as possible, but also understand that you can’t control everything. Do not be too hard on yourself about the internal!


I is for Internalize.

Come to grips with the fact that you failed, and that some of it might be your fault, and some of it might have been uncontrollable. Take a few moments to be sad if you need it, but then get back up and try again!

L is for Learning

Learn something from your failure! And get up and try again. Either you will have learned to succeed or probably learned another step toward success!


Last tip: Best chance at success, but if you fail, Fail EPICALLY! Put your whole heart into it, in order to give yourself the best chance at success, or in the worst case scenario, a legendary fail.


Originally posted by lovefortelevision

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The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.
—  Nolan Bushnell
How to Read More (Part 1)

Reading is one of my all time favorite past times and one of the ways I practice self-care. I regularly get questions asking how I read so much, or how to read more. Here are some tips and tricks for making time to read in college.

1. I recommend that all college students own an e-reader. Books on e-readers are cheaper than hardbacks or paperbacks. Also, you can keep a larger amount of books in your room by keeping them on an e-reader, and they are lighter and more portable in an already heavy backpack. As far as e-readers I recommend Kindle over Nooks, Kobos, and other brands. Kindles are virtually indestructible, have relatively good battery life, and kindle books are cheapest. 

2. Learn to use your library, and maximize your library memberships. Let’s face it, College kids LOVE free stuff. There is a magical place where everything is free (other than printing :P)!! I belong to two different county libraries back home, and I use my school library ALL THE TIME. Also, you can get library books on your kindle! Which is awesome because then you don’t even have to leave your room. 

3. Most of your favorite tv shows and movies are more than likely based on books. 13 Reasons Why, Pretty Little Liars, Forrest Gump, Mean Girls and so many more!! If you have a tv show or movie you particularly enjoy, I recommend looking it up and trying the book out.

4. Get a reading buddy (or buddies). It is great to read books with a friend because then you can discuss them together. A great way to do this is by joining a book club, but if you don’t have time or access to one, you can always read a book with a friend, family member or S/O. Also, you can set up “households” on amazon and share books with your “husband/wife” on their kindles with no additional charges. My boyfriend is listed as my “husband” so we can read books at the same time without both having to buy them!

5. Join Goodreads. There is something soo satisfying about tracking your reading progress. Also, Goodreads helps me discover new books, and connect with fellow book lovers.

6. Read books before bed! This is the BEST way to fit in extra reading time and it helps ease your body to sleep. Just make sure if you are using an e-reader, you use blue shade or turn down the brightness to the lowest possible setting.

7. Read books mentioned in other books and movies. Whenever I see/hear a book mentioned inside another book or media source I like, I always take note.

8. Set numeric goals for how many books, chapters, or pages you want to read.

9. Keep a variety of books on hand. It’s ok not to finish a book, or put it down for a while if you don’t like it or it’s boring you. Don’t get discouraged. Pick a different one.

10. Join and participate in read-a-thons. Read-a-thons are like marathons where you read as much as possible. Some have themes. Some don’t. Some are one day. Some are weeks. Dewey’s  24 Hour Read-a-thon is next Saturday (4/29). 

What are you reading?

You have to want it. You have to want it more than anybody else could possibly want it. Then you have to work for it. You have to work harder than anybody else could possibly work. Then you have to sacrifice. You have to sacrifice more than anybody else could possibly sacrifice. Then you have to suffer. You have to suffer more than anybody else could possibly suffer. Then you have to do it again…and again…and again.
—  Michael Carini