A+ Mentality — How to Be a Great Student

Jason Weiland

It’s a sad truth that once you get out of college, grades mean very little in the grand scheme of things. Sure, it’s nice to drop a Magna Cum Laude in an interview, but it’s doubtful that it will help you get the job you want.

I know you don’t want to hear that.

We are pushed all our lives to excel in school; we look up to people who exceed expectations in classwork; we put people on a pedestal that can navigate the information we are being fed and come out the other side a winner.

During the two years I spent in college in Arizona to get my A.A. in Multimedia, I was on the Dean’s List with Honors. 4.0 every single semester. In the six months or so that I spent at Ashford University, I became a member of the Alpha Sigma Lamda Honor Society. I also became a fellow of the Ashford Honors College.

4.0 all the way, baby.

Now that I am back in college to get my graduate degree and beyond, I have no doubt I will keep my good standing and make the Dean’s list.

I’m not bragging; it just so happens that learning is one thing I am very good at doing. Something about the structure of classes and courses is a good fit for my mind, and I tend to absorb and retain a lot of information.

I’m good at tests, and writing papers, discussions, and responses are easy for me. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I am better than you.

The difference between a D+ student and me is that I can memorize and retain information quickly and regurgitate it at a moment’s notice.

But don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t come that easy for me. I must study constantly, read, take notes, and underline. I must go over the same information repeatedly. I don’t think I’m a genius by any means; I am just willing to put in the time it takes to learn the material.

So, let me back up a little bit.

I guess what I am saying is that there is a difference between me and a D and F-level student. I am willing to do whatever it takes to learn. I am eager to put in the hours and lose sleep to study more and do better on the quizzes. I am willing to break out of my comfort zone and learn the complex concepts that college explores.

I stay up from 10 pm onward. I am lucky if I get 4 or 5 hours of sleep a day. I fight sleepiness to sit at my desk and crank out the work to get a 4.0 average. I take chances and go with my gut often when I don’t understand something. I never cheat because I know I will never learn anything that way.

When the chips are down, I go into beast mode, and shit gets done!

I’m not saying I am better than anyone else; I’m just saying that the difference between an F student and me is that I am willing to put it all on the line and do whatever it takes to learn and excel at being a student.

I often tell my wife that “I’ll get plenty of sleep when I’m dead,” and it’s true because right now, in my magical ten-year path to success, college is essential, and I am going to learn as much as I can.

So, I hustle, and I grind. I work until I am so tired that my body shuts down wherever I happen to be sitting. It doesn’t matter if I am on the couch or sitting in a chair at the barber; when my body wants to sleep, I sleep.

I am willing to do it because I have goals and know that all this work will pay off in the long run.

And even if no one after college asks me if I was ever on the Dean’s List, I’ll know I was. Even if nobody ever decides to do business with me because I was Cum Laude, I’ll know that I was, and it will give me that added fire I need to take the next step on my path to success.

How to Be an A+ Student

When there is studying and coursework to be done, get it done early. Always do your best work, even when it’s not graded or no one is watching.

Know that you are not competing against other students. The only person you have to be better than is the person you were yesterday. If you see someone struggling, lend a helping hand because you always learn more by teaching than doing.

When there is work to be done, nothing else matters. If you are tired, grab a coffee. If you are depressed, push past the darkness and get done what needs doing. If you are anxious, try harder to put yourself out there for people to see.

Always do your best work, and never, never turn something in that you aren’t proud of.

When the grades come in, and you are at the top, do a little dance and move the fuck on. No one needs your big ego in their way. After you pat yourself on the back, spread the love and congratulate your classmates, even the ones who just barely passed. You don’t know what anyone else is going through, so you don’t know how hard they worked for that D.

When you are on top, ask for more work. Take on extra credit, another class, or honors courses. You are not doing it for the accolades. You are doing it because you want to push your mind to the absolute limit and then push some more.

When you get out of college, you will only succeed if you push yourself to the top of that mountain. The only way you will ever find your version of success is if you hustle and grind your way to the pinnacle.

Don’t do well in college because you want to tell people that you were Magna Cum Laude. Do it because you will know deep inside yourself that you did the best you could do in the environment you were in.

Now you know you have what it takes to succeed in life.

Now you know.

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Writer and advocate interested in mental health, health, family, culture, creativity, and success.

Los Angeles, CA
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