“Learn from your mistakes.” It’s a common phrase that parents say to their kids. When something bad happens to you, recall what caused it, learn from it, and then avoid that mistake in the future. It’s a fairly straightforward lesson that humans execute on an unconscious level.
How can a college student take this saying to the next level? Well, they need to learn from everything. Every interaction, assignment, professor tendency, and exam should be analyzed and learned from. As college students trek through each semester, they must be constantly taking in data about their courses, work, teachers, and resources. Each day should involve “deposits” being made into their “college street smarts” bank account.
Why is this important? In order to be efficient and effective in all their courses, students need to master the skills of managing themselves, managing their resources, prioritizing, and time management. The way that a student gets to a more productive level is by fully understanding where the content on a test comes from, the best materials to utilize, how often or how long they need to prepare, and what they should be expecting from different assignments.
Each time a student takes an exam, they should reflect immediately after and ask themselves a few questions. What content was on the test? Where did it come from? How well did I prepare? What could I have done differently to be better prepared? This is all very valuable data and information that a college student needs to stash away and then use. As students go through a semester, they should never be in the dark about how difficult the next test will be, how the teacher grades papers, or what happens at office hours. By about halfway through the semester, students should have mastered the art of understanding their classes and teachers.
As students progress in their courses and continue to make “deposits” into their bank account, they will find that the preparation and learning will become more efficient. They will know exactly how to plan for tests and projects. Eventually, when it comes time to prepare for final exams, students can make one final, big withdrawal from their bank account and use all their knowledge to study effectively, target their preparation, and crush their final exams.
In order to be able to get into this mindset, it helps to work with a coach who will teach students the reflective process and key information that they need to look for as the progress through a semester. Once a student learns that everything they experience is a data point, they can become an even better college student.