The Responsibilities of Students

I wanted to write an article for students so they really understand what they need to be doing. It is a guarantee that if you don't even know the things you're supposed to be doing, you're going to fail to do them.

1) Take care of yourself

I think a lot of people are unaware of the link between their physical condition and mental performance. This is something you should learn about for yourself, but I will provide the basics here. First of all, drugs of any kind, recreational or those prescribed by a psychologist, will adversely affect your ability to study, learn and remember things. They can also interfere with your emotional stability. Alcohol is also something that can inhibit your ability to study and is something I recommend you take in moderation if at all. You should not take it before a school day or around exam times.

Another thing to watch out for is excess sugar consumption, eating food laden with artificial flavourings and preservatives, and highly processed junk food. Again, these are things you should eat in moderation. Making sure you get a good balanced diet will mean you sleep better, can concentrate more and have more energy. It will help you increase your grades. I know an extremely good nutritional advisor, contact me at richardhp at gmail dot com and I can put you in touch with her.

2) NEVER go past something you don't understand

Don't ever say to yourself that "you'll figure it out later". You are setting yourself up for failure as you will then struggle to understand all the following topics that build on that one. If you are taught something that isn't clear, you need to work that same day to understand it before the next lesson. Go over your notes, research it on the internet, read your text book, go back and ask your teacher, your friends, or book yourself a tutor! There is no excuse for this as there are many ways of finding out for yourself. Avoiding it is study suicide.

3) Be thorough.

As the saying goes, the devil is in the detail. It is the small differences in the details that make all the... difference! Your exam papers will be testing your understanding of the minor details, so it's not enough to just get the basic idea and then hope to wing it from there. That is certainly a good start, but you will not score highly on your exams if you cannot grasp the finer details of the subject.

4) Be interested

As a maths tutor, I often get asked "what is the point of studying blah (insert one of: algebra, trigonometry, geometry etc.)? Well in my opinion there are lots of reasons to study it, but here is one that beats them all - because it's interesting. When I was at school I hated Art and English and was only interested in the sciences. Now I am able to be interested in those things and more, and I really regret not putting more effort into it. I have met a great number of adults who tell me they hated maths at school but now wish they'd understood it better.

All of the things you study at school have been studied by hundreds of the smartest people in the history of the Earth over centuries and millennia. Isn't there a reason for that? You can make anything interesting, and when you understand things, they are interesting. Don't use this one as an excuse to cover up that you won't put the effort in to figuring something out. You will probably regret it when you're older.

5) Be in the driving seat

I think this one is the most important one for several reasons, which I'll explain. but what I mean by this is it should be the student that is searching for understanding themselves, not sitting back and waiting to be taught. You have a whole world of information to study and learn about, and a free education system where there are trained professionals whose full time job is to help you learn it! It is a fantastic opportunity and one that does not exist when you are older than 21 usually. When you're older, if you want to learn something, you gotta pay someone!

You need to be looking for yourself, checking things out, looking at ideas and thinking about them, discussing them with your friends or teachers. Imagine you have a theme park to explore, do you grab the map and run around looking for the best rides? Or do you take the guided tour? I promise you will learn the most by taking your own initiative and pushing yourself through your studies.

The second reason this is important is that is how life works basically. Being able to drive yourself forward and figure things out is the main skill required by all companies. If you want a good job, you need to be able to do this, so start practising now! No one wants to hire someone who just sits around waiting to be told what to do. It's exhausting having to run someone and always give them their next task. Employers want someone who will come in, figure out what the job needs and will get on and do it. Start now.


Well there you have it, that's what you need to be doing. If you're having trouble with your studies take a look and see if it's down to any of the points here. If you think it isn't , then I'd love to hear from you. Do get in touch and tell me what the problem is and I'll see if I can help and put the solution onto this page!

(Published on 3 Mar 2015)