1. A Good Attitude
Starting college is one of the most exciting experiences of our lives so far, but it comes with a slew of things that can make us feel annoyed, sad, or down right pissy. When faced with small rooms, huge classes, potentially jerky professors, homesickness, and huge workloads, successful students tackle it by having a positive, can-do attitude. A common thread among high achieving students is an optimistic outlook. They look at situations and challenges realistically, but they seek out opportunities in the face of difficulties. A positive mindset allows these students to problem solve, do high-quality work, and find windows where their more negative counterparts see a wall. These students are excited about their school, excited about their education, and won't let life's little set backs get in the way of them making the most out of their four or five years at their school.
2. A Plan
There's a time and place to wing it, but in the face of a busy schedule, tons of major requirements, due dates and easy distractions, top students have a plan. Their whole lives don't have to be scheduled and organized, but great students have an idea of what they need to do, what they want to do, and how they'll achieve it. They apply this "what do I want and how will I get it" mindset to things as small as how they'll ace their history quiz or meet their fitness goal at the gym. Or, they use it to tackle their bigger goals, such as "how will I score this summer internship?" or "what can I do in college to set myself up for the job I want?" Sometimes you have to take things as they come, but it is always good to take the time to think things through. As freshman, we've got a blank slate to draw on and make our own, and successful students will ask themselves, "what do I want?" and then ask "how can I get it?"
3. An Open Mind
However, even with the best attitude and most carefully thought out plans, things can go wrong. The third thing successful students have in common is an open mind. They're willing to change their plans, re-think their decisions and be flexible with their mindset without going off track. If a good student gets too set in the plan they made, it can totally derail them if it doesn't work out. That's why an open mind separates a good student from a great one. An open minded student can be more creative in finding solutions in tough times, and will be able to think their way around challenges. A student with an open mind still plans and thinks it out, but they don't put all their eggs in one basket, they've got a plan b, and most importantly: they have a sense of humor. Being able to laugh at things and roll with the punches is what makes a successful student a grade above the rest.
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