Monday, January 31, 2011

Tips to Be a Successful College Student

 My husband graduated as Cum Laude in Electronics Engineering way back year 2002 in one of the most popular university in Cebu, Philippines. Actually as of the time I wrote this tips, I am still studying Bachelor of Arts in Music. I am currently at the second semester in my first year as a university student.

The first semester is of course a success, I manage to included as one of the College of Arts Dean List honors. The following list of tips is for everyone looking for success in their college/university studies. And I do believe that all of these tips can be applied regardless of age, course and school where you are currently studying.

Be warned that there is no easy path to success in college education, its all about hard work, perseverance, commitment and patience. And that what's I learned from my husband with those years of experiences he shared to me many times about how he manage to reach honors at end of his college studies. So let's get started...

Tip#1: Always bring an assignment notebook and write EVERYTHING what the instructor needs you to do for tomorrow or coming days/weeks.

Reason: One of the common mistakes student commits when studying college is carelessness and lack of responsibility/focus as a student. Too many times they are too shy to write an assignment notebook because they think everyone else is not doing it. In fact, writing what the instructor needs you to do is a smart way to keep you updated with all the assignments, quiz schedules, reading assignments and examination tips that are vital for your success until the end of the semester.

Tip#2: Buy or secure all books, handbooks and reading materials the instructor “wants” you to have  

Reason:  This includes the main course textbook,manuals and other references that instructor is using. Sometimes the references (which are books that the instructor does not require) are where most of the examinations are taken, so if you do not have any of these resources you will be having a hard time studying and passing every exams.

Tip#3: The consistent number of hours dedicated to STUDYING everyday

Reason: This does not only apply to school days but the entire days of the week. The main difference between successful and unsuccessful students, is that those successful ones are studying everyday at least 6 hours. While those problematic students only care about studies when they are at school.

Tip#4: Study and understand the topic in ADVANCE before a formal instructor discussion

Reason: Successful students tend to be curious about the the course topic that all of them care to study in advance. It is why it is very useful to have those study materials/references with you. Ask the instructor what are the complete course outline so that you can study it in advance. Of course, since you are new to the topic, confusion is normal. This is where you can write those questions so that the time when the instructor discusses that topic, you can ask that question and have it answered.

Tip#5: Don't be absent even a single session IF possible

Reason: It is because if you are always absent, you miss a lot of scoring opportunities not counting those discussions that are important during the exams.

Tip#6: Participate ACTIVELY in any oral discussion opportunities

Reason: Instructor loves active and participative students. In return, they will give them a good grade for active participation, so make sure you are always raising your hands wheneven a instructor ask the class about a certain question. Passive students doesn't care about the instructor questions, in return instructor doesn't care about their grades. You need to be active during class discussion.

Tip#7. Difficult instructors care beyond grades

In every college studies, there are difficult instructors. These are the instructors or instructors nicknamed as “terror” by students. The truth is that these instructors are just “perfectionist” in any way that they demand the students “respect”, “attention”, “participation”, “time” and most importantly your grades and your smiles. The trick is to study harder if your instructor is difficult and try the best to get good grades during exam. Then you need to be nice to your instructor and don't behave in a way you hate the instructor. Sometimes even academic performances are not enough for these type of instructors. You also need to be behave well in class and show outmost respect to that instructor.

Tip#8: Aim 100% in every exam.

Sounds impossible, but its not. Actually this is a great technique applied by honor students. I mean they always targeting to be perfect in every exam. If they do not actually hit 100% but at least they got 90% or even 95% at least which is still a very good grade. In the end, their average can be very high that they will qualify for honors. Some students will just dream to reach passing grade, and if they miss out that passing mark just a little; they will surely fail.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

How to Divide and Conquer Strategy to Solve a Difficult Problem Technique

“Divide and conquer” strategy is a great and proven technique in solving problems and completing a difficult project. The following are the five essential tips you can apply the divide and conquer strategy to turn life obstacles into a pathway to success.

1. Define the problem with details

The first step is clearly defining the problem. For example, you are having financial problems in your marriage that results to unpaid debt, etc.

You can address the problem with setting a goal to solve it. You might say as a new year resolution, “I hope next year, I will pay all debts and save 60%of my income.”.

2. Break the giant problem into small manageable pieces

Of course, it may sound so difficult and impossible if you hear someone saying “In the next 5 years, I will become a millionaire”. If you do that, you find yourself lost in the process and more likely you will never be able to attain your goal.

This is where the divide and conquer strategy comes to play. The key is to break down the major goals into small manageable goals. Supposing you plan to become a millionaire in the next 5 years; a realistic goal breakdown would be in terms of yearly goals. An even more manageable approach is to even break it down into monthly goals, for example:

a.) Save x% from your income each month.
b.) Control the overall %cost to x percent per month.
c.) Contribute x amount of dollars to stocks portfolio per month.

Saving, controlling cost and investing a little each month seems to be easy and manageable goals. This little step you are doing each month is what it takes to be a millionaire within years to come.

3.) Persistence, Discipline, Hard work and Focus

Now you have successfully broken down the difficult goal into small manageable goals, the next thing you will do is to work on it. Nothing will be accomplished with your goal if you are not willing to exert an effort.

Not only hard work but a combination of persistence discipline and focus. Let’s go back to the million dollar goal example. To be persistent means you should be able to continue your contributions to your stock portfolio investment each month or doing things to reduce cost per month as well as saving money.

“Focus” is important to keep you track with your goals on a daily basis. This focus gives you the reason to live for the day and work. Take small steps daily, you will be amazed how these small steps can become an integral part of success in the future to come.

Final Lesson: When you encounter a big problem, define the problem into small pieces by breaking it down into small manageable goals. You can then act on these small manageable goals that will slowly solve the big problem in the long run.

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