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Sit Down with a Magna Cum Laude Grad - Tips on How to Be an A student in High School, College, and University

Sit Down with a Magna Cum Laude Grad - Tips on How to Be an A student in High School, College, and University

I'm glad you want to know how to be an A student, whether you're in high school, college, or university!

Or maybe you're a parent that wants to show this to their kids! Kudos :)

Aiming for success in your studies is rewarding! At the same time, it's a sacrifice. You're going to have to say no at times to fun, leisure, etc. 

Learning to say no is an important life skill. More on this in a future blog post!

Being a successful student takes organization, clarity, focus, and hard work. 

I used to be an average student. After some life circumstances, I decided enough was enough. I had a burning desire to study and learn to my full potential. This desire was so strong, I couldn't wait for the Winter semester to start! (Believe me, that was a first). 

I wanted to prove to MYSELF that I could be a successful student. I wanted to show myself what what possible if I really applied myself. 

And guess what? That deep desire, coupled with all that focus, clarity organization and hard work, got me there. 

From that Winter semester forward, I was an A student. I graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors last year, so I know what it takes!

Do you want to be average?

No? Then let's get started!

Here's what I learned: 

1. Choose great professors!

If you're in high school, you most likely can't choose your classes/professors. However, in college and university, you can!

Having inspirational professors makes a WORLD of a difference in your education. When I chose classes for that Winter semester, back in 2017, I went on ratemyprofessors.com to find inspirational professors. I searched for professors with the highest ratings, and with lots of reviews. I read through all the student reviews. 

The ratings/reviews are generally accurate. Sometimes there are really lazy students who find a bunch of excuses to badmouth their professor because they were too lazy to put in the hard work necessary to get a good grade, or even pass the class. On the other hand, sometimes, you find hidden GEMS!

That Winter semester, I took a Physical Geography class and English 101. The physical geography professor I chose, to this date, is by far the most amazing professor I've ever had! 

Why he was my favorite professor:

He took a difficult subject and made it FUN! He made it enjoyable to learn. He truly cared about the success of his students and taught the class in a way where students would more easily grasp the subject. If students were having difficultly understanding something, he would explain until you understood. He didn't get bothered if you asked almost the same questions until you understood something. 

I never liked science prior to that and wasn't good at it either, but that professor changed everything! Not only did he make it easier to learn, he also made me like science! I worked even harder in this class, to show him all the effort he was putting into his classes and for his students were not going unrecognized and unappreciated.

Great professors have the ability to make classes FUN, make subjects easy to learn, and offer lots of support via questions or office hours. They make it so enjoyable that you actually want to show up to class!

2. Be organized.

After picking your professors and classes, you need to STAY ORGANIZED to be on top of them. 

The first day of class (and sometimes in advance for online classes), you'll receive the syllabus that has course information, and oftentimes homework and exam due dates. 

I highly recommend you grab your You Squared planner and WRITE DOWN all those due dates! You can color code this per class. 

For example, green for physical geography, and yellow for English 101. 

This is HUGE. HUGE I tell ya!

Though it is an upfront time commitment, it will save you stress. You won't miss deadlines because you forgot you had assignments due. You won't forget to study for exams in advance because you didn't realize you had to study for your exam until the night before, or worse yet, the day of the exam. I know you've been there!

3. Don't wait until last minute. 

You will fail if you wait until last minute. This is true for almost anything in life. 

In your studies, give yourself ample time to do your homework, read your textbooks, and study for your exams. 

It's not only hard to learn when you try to cram everything, it's harder to retain the information. You'll also be exhausted faster. 

Is the exam 2 weeks away? Start studying at least a week in advance. A few hours a day can suffice rather than 10 hours the day before the exam. 

4. Take breaks. 

Studying and doing homework can be overwhelming, especially if you're working like an A student. Sometimes that means hours upon hours of studying, and even late nights. 

However, to avoid mental burnout, TAKE BREAKS! One of my good friends, and fellow overachievers, taught me this. I would study for hours until I felt exhausted. Then I would give myself a 15-30 minute break. I would decompress, grab a yummy snack, and watch YouTube videos! My favorites genres are comedy and wild animals. :) 

5. Ask questions. 

Raise your hand in class! Don't be afraid to ask questions. Ask as many questions as you can. Good professors will be happy to help you understand the topic. 

5. Go to office hours. 

If you don't feel comfortable asking your questions in class (which you should, as going out of your comfort zone is an important life skill as well), you should attend office hours! This is a great way to sit down 1-on-1 with your professors and ask questions in depth and get help in the specific areas you're having difficulty. This is a great time for asking questions that are focused more towards your specific needs and understanding, and may not benefit other students as well.

6. Think big picture. 

Have a vision. 

Where do you want to be in the next 5 years? WHO do you want to be? Discover yourself and your purpose. Discover the impact you were born to make. 

I want to help you excel and propel forward. It's my mission to give you a tool that will not only help you:

  • organize and plan out your schedule of classes, assignment due dates, and exams
  • prompt you to self reflect (there are a lot of guided questions to get you to appreciate life and figure out what you want in life and how you're going to achieve that level of success)
  • give you guidance
  • frame your mindset to think more positively
  • become more growth oriented
  • help you figure out the direction of your life
  • give you structure on scheduling your life and goals
  • offer accountability to stay on top of your tasks and your goals
  • help you believe in yourself and 
  • motivate you to go after your goals!

Will you allow me to help inspire you?

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