By Herman M. Lagon
Ideally, students are not merely in school to survive the challenges of education but rather thrive and excel in their academic endeavors and long-term goals. By integrating a set of essential regimens and embracing their unique individuality, they may commit to a way of proceeding that lays the foundation for success in school and beyond.
Taking proactive initiative involves seizing control of one’s educational journey by seeking out additional resources, initiating discussions with educators, and engaging in extracurricular activities that broaden one’s horizons. By envisioning the end goal—their ultimate whys as defined by optimist Simon Sinek (Start with Why and The Infinite Game)—from the start, students gain clarity and direction, allowing them to remain focused and motivated throughout their academic pursuits. Prioritizing important tasks enables students to manage their time effectively, ensuring they allocate their energy to the most critical assignments and activities, thus facilitating efficient progress toward their academic goals.
Cultivating a win-win mindset in the language of effective leadership guru Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 8th Habit) encourages students to approach collaborative efforts with a spirit of cooperation, seeking solutions that benefit all parties involved. Understanding diverse perspectives and gaining valuable insights are the foundations of effective communication, established by prioritizing listening over the urge to be immediately understood. Collaborating for more significant results allows students to harness the collective power of teamwork, leveraging the strengths of their peers to achieve outcomes that surpass individual capabilities.
Moreover, the commitment to continuously improve and renew one’s approach to learning empowers students to adapt, grow, and evolve in response to challenges, setbacks, and new information. Beyond these foundational habits lies the personal commitment to discovering and expressing one’s unique advocacy, as Ignatian leadership expert Cris Lowney (Heroic Leadership and Heroic Living) succinctly professed.
In the view of psychologist Carol Dweck (Mindset: The New Psychology of Success), students can express their unique voice by pursuing projects aligned with their passions and values, taking leadership roles in school organizations, contributing diverse perspectives to classroom discussions, embracing challenges and persisting in the face of setbacks.
Embracing their individuality and passions as inspired by Angela Duckworth (Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance), students can make meaningful contributions to their academic community, whether through creative endeavors, mentorship, or initiatives that reflect their authentic selves. This ability to sustain one’s zeal and drive is vital in achieving long-term goals.
For instance, students can take proactive initiative by organizing study groups, seeking tutoring or academic support, and actively engaging in class discussions. Envisioning the end goal from the start might involve setting academic targets for the semester, creating a vision board to visually represent goals, and developing a strategic plan to achieve academic success. Prioritizing important tasks could include using time management techniques such as the Eisenhower Matrix, setting realistic deadlines for assignments, and breaking down large projects into manageable steps.
Cultivating a win-win way of life might involve resolving conflicts in group projects by seeking mutually beneficial solutions, engaging in peer-to-peer tutoring, and fostering a collaborative environment in group settings. Listening before seeking to be understood could involve active listening in classroom debates, seeking peer feedback on assignments, and participating in diversity and inclusion workshops to understand different perspectives.
Moreover, students can collaborate for greater results by participating in group study sessions, engaging in team sports or extracurricular activities, and working on joint projects that leverage the strengths of each team member. Continuously improving and renewing one’s approach to learning might involve seeking out new learning opportunities outside the classroom, reflecting on past academic experiences to identify areas for growth, and participating in skills development workshops to enhance academic capabilities.
Yet lest I forget, prime to all mentioned is the habit of self-awareness, as emphasized by psychologist Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence) and Fr. James Martin, Jr. (The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life), which is critical in this journey. Understanding their strengths, weaknesses, emotions, and values helps students effectively navigate their education and make decisions true to themselves. This not only aids in their academic success, stress management, and mental wellness but also promotes lifelong personal and professional growth. Practices such as journaling, mindfulness, and self-assessment are crucial in developing this essential skill.
Ultimately, by integrating these habits, embracing their individuality, and pushing their passions, students can transcend the traditional boundaries of academic achievement, paving the way for a transformative educational experience. Through this holistic approach, students not only thrive in school, but also cultivate the skills, mindset, and resilience necessary to excel in all facets of their lives.
Doc H fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice and the pursuit of happiness. His views herewith do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions he is employed or connected with.