Many ways to find college success

Shia Aaron L. Fisher, Contributor

My advice for new college students is to gamify their learning experience: learn the rules, practice the techniques and win. First, I should add a disclaimer, everyone’s experience is unique and I certainly do not have all answers myself. In fact, I have developed my style after several failures.

I am happy to say, however, that I have made Dean’s List three times so far in my college career and you can too! Consider the following analogy before proceeding if academic excellence is more valuable than only passing a class.

A videogame has winners and losers, largely there is not much to be gained beyond bragging rights, unless you’re a professional gamer playing for major cash prizes. School in this context is a lot like a video game. The goal is to win. Cash incentive may be one prize worth striving for, after all – earning an associate, bachelor’s, or post-secondary degree increases one’s earning potential. Decreasing college debt should also incentivize achievement. One way to reduce student debt is to earn scholarships and awards while in school.

Inside the Madison College course catalog is a course called College Success. Success is literally in the name. This class is superb at helping with focus and clarity with self-reflexive response journals and S.M.A.R.T. goal planning. Creating specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based goals is an important skill in completing larger and smaller tasks. 

Making a schedule that makes sense is all about balance. Meet with an advisor and think about what normal week will entail. For example, examine what the transportation situation is going to be like, how far is one classroom from the next, how much study time is necessary do well.

Remember that the schedule is not only about class time, but it is also about preparation per lecture, lab or discussion hours.

It is important to have a good diet and good self-care routines; forming new habits may mean practicing sleep hygiene, for example.

Self-care can build good habits for life and declutters the mind in the process. When it is hard to focus on study material at home, keep calm and stay productive. This may be the break that is really needed.

Self-care first, it is crucial to attend every class. This practice helps to set the right intention. Plus, missing class can greatly affect a final grade. The expression “you cannot win if you don’t play,” certainly applies here, but if you’re sick, do not forget to take care of yourself.

In a survey that tested children’s responses before and after receiving feedback, the growth mind-set approach has been shown to foster more correct responses from children surveyed than children who were given the praise approach.

Researchers concluded that praise affirms natural talent as the key to success while the growth-mindset rewards effort and hard work.

Those who adhere to a growth-mindset are less likely to feel defeated from failures than those from a praise approach mindset and are more likely to learn more.