Preparing for the coming year: A students’ guide to being well-prepared
After dealing with the apprehensions and anticipations associated with the exam results, students typically indulge themselves in the revelry and relaxation of the vacations. But as the next academic session approaches, be it for school or for college, often parents and teachers complain, and at times students realize retrospectively, that their slack at the beginning of the year has greater costs and repercussions in the long run. However, such a slack is not restricted to academic preparations, but also includes initiatives towards extra-curricular activities, socialisation and peer interactions, and an overall personality development for the student. Competency is a combination of qualification and soft skills. Gone are the days when a candidate’s competency is judged solely based on his or her qualification and performance on paper. With the ever-increasing choices of vocations and professional opportunities available today, the competition is at an all-time high, and hence the focus is more on the individual’s overall personality, including leadership, communication, negotiation, and other personality traits that can help the individual to interact effectively and work harmoniously.
The following are some of the points that could be kept in mind to ensure that they are geared up not only to succeed in their academics but also to help them strike a balance and make the most of their coming year:
1. SMART goal setting. Management of time is undoubtedly one of the most significant challenges faced by a student who is preparing for exams. It is important for the goals and targets which are decided to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART). This will ensure that the time tables that the students make do not simply stay on paper but are actually implemented and followed through.
2. Identify and work on overcoming weaknesses. On the basis of your academic performance in the previous session, you would be able to objectively evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses. Use this evaluation to rule out options that are likely to serve as your asset as a career, and then narrow down your career goals for the future.
3. Prep yourself to avoid giving in in to peer-pressure. Each one of us is different in terms of capabilities, interests and personality types. Therefore, it is important not to get influenced by what your friends or peers are saying or doing. You need to remember to focus on your own self, as the decision to choose your career for your life should be based solely on your own accord.
4. Prioritize. There will inevitably be times when you have too many things to be done. Rather than getting flustered, reorder the priorities in your head, striking off the less important or urgent ones and focusing on the present instead. At times like this, it’s important to take a step back and introspect on the reasons of our actions and why we want to achieve what we’ve wanted to.
5. Go beyond the textbook learnings. It is important to remember that learnings need to transcend the education system. The focus of education is not restricted simply to textbook knowledge, and the marks obtained by the students’ academic performance in the examinations. Therefore, one’s thinking needs to be allowed to escape beyond the pages of the textbook. The students should think of the bigger picture, and to be able to connect the dots between what they learn from the textbooks to be applied within the daily living, while also relating the same to information gained from a variety of sources including the newspaper, books, magazines, or even movies.
6. Utilize your educational platform to boost your levels of self-confidence. In fact, school and college are the platforms which help the students utilize opportunities to interact with peers, explore their potential talents, as well as to work on developing their own sense of self. And it is important for both parents and teachers to encourage the students to take an initiative and participate in such ventures, and not simply focus on their grades to the neglect of all others.
7. Focus on your own individuality. While we all have our own set of unique traits, unless we provide outlets to explore these traits during our schooling and college years (which are the years of our development and growth), it would not be possible for us to recognize our own individuality as being distinct from others.
8. Capitalize on your social skills. Schooling and college years are the best time for you to not just enjoy the time spent with their peers and friends, but also to utilize the same opportunities to both play and work in a group setting. Such group activities are essential to help groom interpersonal skills, and to practice skills for assertiveness, communication, negotiation, conflict management, as well as relationship management.
9. Strike a balance between work and play. Avoid extremist routines. It is important to strike a balance, and not to have extremes in your routines and study patterns. For instance, extra-curricular activities should not be restricted during the exam seasons. Instead, they should be balanced appropriately throughout the year. Similarly, studying should not be restricted to the exam season, but be maintained consistently throughout the year.
10. Enjoy life. While it is easy to get trapped in the vicious cycle of a hectic study routine, it is more important to remember to enjoy yourself. Look for opportunities to laugh at, and humour is a great way to lighten the mood and relieve your stress levels. Remember, life is not only about working towards future – life is also about what is happening right now. Ensure that you enjoy yourself while working towards success, so you don’t have to sacrifice on your happiness for accomplishing your goals; you need to find a way to enjoy both.