Magazine article USA TODAY

Time to Get Serious

Magazine article USA TODAY

Time to Get Serious

Article excerpt

STUDENTS, you must boot up your minds for the 21st century. You already know how quickly everything around you changes --seemingly on a daily basis. This fast and furious evolution means that you have to become an excellent learner to keep up with a future where change is an everyday occurrence. In short, it means that you will have to be a student for the rest of your life. Imagine yourself in a job or a career. As each new thing comes along, you have to leant it right away. Whether it is on the job or in the classroom, it is the same thing: learn, learn, learn.

You are in for a lifetime of change and learning--welcome to the Information Age. How will you manage it? If you become an excellent learner in school, then you will be an excellent learner in an exciting and interesting career after college.

The harder you study, the more you will want to study because you are ready for the new challenges that lie ahead. If you get better at what you do--learning--the more you will want to learn. You will feel that being a student every day means more than you ever imagined. It is a fantastic feeling. Being a "serious" student does not mean you lose the fun in your life or become a different person. Serious means dynamic. You take control each day so that you can do everything you need and want to do. It means becoming an independent and good student who improves day by day.

The plain fact is that what you do every day as a student--listening with attention to your teachers in class, following directions, completing assignments, meeting deadlines, and studying with concentration--has far-reaching effects. What you do now as a student mirrors what you will do as an adult in the workplace: going off to work each day, getting there on time, doing a job according to someone's directions, meeting deadlines and the demands of others, and trying to succeed by using your head. These are skills that employers prize.

School teaches you to become a person who gets things done. All of those assignments, tests, projects, lab reports, and papers teach you how to be self-motivated and active. If you have initiative and energy, employers will hire you. Later, your boss will notice these abilities, allowing you to move up the ladder. Productive people always are in high demand.

Serious students are going places. They are moving ahead. They are better organized, and they succeed in everything--from extracurriculars to classes. What about you? What would your friends say if they were asked if you will be successful? From semester to semester, from year to year, successful students are in control of themselves: focused and balanced. They see an exciting future for themselves. They plan ahead. They set and reach goals--like climbing a mountain.

If you are a student who is serious about succeeding, you need to look at the entire mountain. You should be thinking about reaching the peak and enjoying the view from the top (it is your future), but some climbers only watch the path that is right in front of them or the rock that they are crawling over at that moment.

Do you think school is something to get through and leave behind? Do you find school dull? Maybe you are waiting for the excitement to begin, but it never seems to arrive. You five in the moment. Do you think of school in terms of compartments? You move from one course to the next, one semester to the next, one year to the next. Each is separate, and one compartment seems just like the next. You are bored. You do not really exert yourself. You work just hard enough to get okay grades. Basically, you are satisfied with getting by. Setting goals is not something you think about.

Then again, perhaps you are the type who earns pretty good grades but, basically, you work for grades, not to learn, not really. You have no real sense of how all your classes fit together to form a whole. There is no big picture for you, either. …

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