Qualities of a Good Student

Qualities of a Good Student

This blog discusses seven important qualities of a student with an emphasis on how these can impact one’s future career. It’s important to know what you’re good at and where your weaknesses lie. And there is never a better time to improve them – the weaknesses – than during your education, during your school years, since there are fewer long-term consequences or repercussions. Once you’re in your career, however, the consequences of under performing can be lasting and can stain your reputation. And it must be pointed out that these qualities can, of course, be developed or honed at any time during your life and, of course, outside of the educational environment. So, let’s get started!

No. 1 – A desire to learn.

This involves an internal motivation to master a topic, to read more about a subject, to question the teacher in class; it’s this innate desire to learn; and this internal drive has future applications because if you’re motivated during school to learn more and to develop your skills, that will carry over into your job and into your career; bosses and managers will see this, will take note of it; and you will be up for promotion sooner than you think. This is a quality that is often difficult to teach, and if I’m honest, the opposite of this quality – the apathy – that I see amongst many students is alarming. So, if you have this ability to learn, this internal drive to learn even when you’re not asked to learn, you will be much further ahead than many other applicants for that particular job.

No. 2 – Discipline.

This means you can work even when you lack motivation. This is especially important if you want to develop consistency because, guess what, we don’t always feel like doing things. This is apparent, this is obvious, this is a fact of life, so this discipline, to do things even when you don’t feel like it, to finish your homework assignments even when you don’t want to finish them – this is a skill that you can develop, that if you do develop it, will have important future applications because this means you’ll be relied upon in your job, in your career to finish projects because they know you’re going to do it, they know you’re disciplined, to carried out even when you might not feel like it, even when it’s not the most exciting project.

No. 3 – Social skills.

Can you work alone and in groups? This is very, very important and often undervalued during your high school and university years. If you have an opportunity to work in a group setting, take advantage of it, because it’s here that you understand what you’re good at, how you fit into groups, how you get along with people with different personalities, with difficult personalities, where you see your strengths in groups are – are you a sort of a mediator, are you a natural leader, do you contribute to the group in a meaningful way, are you rather quiet, do you, sort of, get involved actively from the beginning? Working in a group helps you assess your social skills and your working abilities in a group setting, and, guess what, most jobs will require you to work in some sort of an organization. So, use these group projects in school and university as testing grounds for what you’re naturally good at. This is really important when it comes to an international job or career because you will be called upon to work in a group, in a project, in a small subset organization within the larger group. Your ability to grow and sort of move up the corporate ladder will depend on your ability to get along with your colleagues. If people like working with you, they will want you to, one day, lead them. If you cause problems or you create conflict in groups, these are qualities that people will seek to remove in the future, and your career will be cut short. There is another social skill that is sort of working alone, the ability to work by yourself – can they depend on you to finish the project on your own? And this, I think, is just as important because you will have opportunities, there will be moments when you have to work alone. Can you work in isolation? Do you need people around? These are important things to know about yourself before you get into a meaningful job or career. Learn this, have these experiences while you’re studying at university, if at all possible.

No. 4 – Being helpful

People like to be around people who are generous, who are sympathetic to their coworkers, who are sensitive to the needs and issues of those around them, and if you’re always competing to be the best, people will feel this. There are moments to compete, but there are also moments to regroup as a team and move forward. So, those who noticed that someone is struggling, maybe they have an issue in their private life and they pull them aside and ask how are they doing; or in their job, they are struggling to master a task or to, sort of, finish a task on time – if you offered to help them, in some sort of way this goes a long way with your social cachet and this is a very important quality, there is a generous spirit, charitable spirit that you offer within a group setting that have important future implications because the bottom line is this: if people like working with you, if they feel good around you, if they feel that you have their best interests at heart as well, they will want to work with you in the future and these are the types of people who will receive promotions in the future; not only competing at a high level individually but also making sure that group members also succeed.

No. 5 – Express your opinions in class and in your homework.

This is an important skill that, unfortunately, I never learned at university nor in school because I was just simply too shy; I was shy, I lacked confidence to, sort of, speaking my mind in front of a group or on a paper that a professor would read. But, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen the benefit of, sort of, stepping out of your comfort zone and providing an opinion even if that opinion is shot down, or ridiculed, or criticized – you learn important lessons like, for instance, you will survive that embarrassing moment, you begin to gain confidence, you begin in the process as well to be more convincing because you begin to understand what sort of ideas you can proffer to the group and what others that you might not to be so sure about. This skill should be practiced, this ability to, sort of, produce an opinion in front of your peers is an important skill that you should hone regardless of your personality. Don’t use personality as an excuse – while I’m shy, I’m reticent, I don’t like to talk in front of people, that may be true, but you could try. And it’s in these moments that you will learn a lot and the future implication here is obvious – the more confidence you have in your own opinions, in your own ideas, the more confidence others will have in your ideas as well later in a group or business environment, and these are the people that would lead organizations – if you’re confident and you can convincingly convey your ideas to a group. You hold the keys to your future success.

No. 6 – Collect different experiences

Collect different experiences from debate to community service to sports to making presentations, to going on educational exchanges. With each new experience, you gain new perspectives, and you understand what you’re naturally good at, what you’re naturally week at, what you like and what you don’t like. And the earlier you know about these things, the better decisions you will make later in your career. It’s important to know before you take a job, for example, whether you feel you have the ability to succeed in that job. It’s not enough to know that you can get the job; it’s critical to know can you succeed in that job, and if you have a variety of experiences early on, you have a better chance at calibrating whether you can succeed in that job or not.

No. 7 – Embrace criticism

Don’t be afraid of it. It’ll be with you your whole life; if you attempt to do something important or even if you don’t. Adopt the view that criticism is a way to improve faster; without it, you develop hubris – a mistaken belief that you are somehow better than everyone else, above everyone else; and this leads to problems later because you feel you’re immune to criticism. This is not an optimal position to be in. Be humble, be teachable, and criticism teaches you this important skill. If you want to grow faster in an organization or in a subject at university or school, embrace criticism because criticism points out the weaknesses, the areas that you need to improve in, and it’s a fast track to improvement. If you lack criticism, sometimes you don’t have the wherewithal to see what areas you actually need to improve in. I will tell you that this point is perhaps the most difficult to master because all of us have a natural aversion to being criticized; we take offense, we get defensive, but if you have overcome that natural feeling of being offended and embrace it as a way to get better, than nothing and no one can stop you.

What about you? Which of these seven qualities that I’ve listed are you strong in? And which do you need to improve in? It’s never too late to begin improving. And if you’re still reading this blog, it means that you liked it, so tell a friend about it and tell a friend about my Website.

Thanks – Qualities of a Good Student

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