“No one who cannot rejoice in the discovery of his own mistakes deserves to be called a scholar.” – Donald Foster

The recent economic downturn has highlighted the importance of education. Developing the right skills has become crucial. And yet how we go about developing those skills is quite complex. There’s been a definite trend towards studying abroad and even online. Nevertheless, there are some principles we can all take to make our studies a success:

1. Make friends

“Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” – Confucius

One of the best things about college is the variety of people you get to interact with. This isn’t high school, where you’re forced to hang out with people who might not float your boat. Now you’re free to mix and mingle as you like. Find people you relate to and whose company you enjoy. And don’t settle for anything less. Time with them will really provide the support and reassurance when the going gets tough.

2. Get involved

“You cannot teach a person anything; you can only help him find it within himself.” – Galileo

Another great thing about college is the broad range of activities on offer. Whatever you choose, from mountaineering to Tai Chi, will provide the perfect opportunity to meet other people and take your mind off the books. These activities also provide a great way to explore your passions (perhaps photography or film) and learn skills that will definitely come in handy down the line. Personally, I’d recommend any form of martial arts. I can’t think of a better way to develop both body and mind!

3. Work hard

“A written word is the choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself.” – Henry David Thoreau

As much as you’d prefer to deny it, the reason you’re enrolled is to learn. That means reading ahead of class, participating by asking questions (or staying afterwards to do so then), and making sure you do all your assignments on time. Getting to know your professors won’t hurt either. They’ll be far more inclined to help you out if they know you in advance. Showing a sincere interest in who they are and what they do is also a great way to build up some contacts.

4. Read broadly

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Sir Richard Steele

In this day and age, simply focusing on your course material won’t be enough. The last thing you want is to be among the 40% of graduates who waste the gift of literacy by never reading another book for the rest of their lives! Make the library your best friend. Stretch your mind by learning about things unrelated to your field. In my studies, I found myself fascinated topics ranging from evolutionary economics to advances in neuroscience. I also set the goal to read the 100 greatest books of all time before I turn 30, a decision that’s proven to be one of the best I’ve ever made. The classics are timeless for a reason. Shouldn’t you discover why?

5. Get help

“I am always ready to learn, but I do not always like being taught.” – Winston Churchill

Life at college can be tough. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get help as soon as problems start to emerge. If you’re having doubts about your choice of study, a career counsellor can help. If you’re stressed out and exhausted from all the work, talk to a doctor. All these resources are meant to ensure you get the most of your studies. You don’t have to get by on your own so don’t even try!

6. Have fun

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.” – Will Durant

Naturally, I’ve saved the best for last. As much as some would prefer to work themselves to the bone, this isn’t smart. Don’t try to be a perfectionist or work to the point that you’re bursting into tears. I’ve seen some of the most resilient individuals break down and some of the most intimate relationships take strain. All this over work! Nothing is more important than your wellbeing. Work hard, play hard, and keep it in perspective. Varsity is meant to be the best time of your life so enjoy it! Any less just won’t do.

“The person who stops studying merely because he has finished school is forever hopelessly doomed to mediocrity, no matter what may be his calling. The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.” – Napoleon Hill

Author's Bio: 

About Me

I have been an active writer for over a decade and published my first book in August 2007. This marked the start of Varsity Blah, a personal development blog that has now received almost 250,000 hits from over 120 countries worldwide. This article is one of almost 100 posts that were compiled into my upcoming book, which was reviewed on Authonomy.com: “This is some very insightful stuff… The way the book is structured, paired with your capabilities of drawing great narrative, leads this on the right path. This cleanses the mind.”

For more free chapters and special reports, please email editor@varsityblah.com.

About My Services

Graduating from college with distinctions in financial accounting and classical piano has given me a uniquely creative approach to all I do. As a personal development copywriter, I specialise in creating content on improving health, relationships, finances, and career. This includes writing and editing articles, papers, blog posts, web copy, and much more. My professional background in marketing (as well as my extensive experience as one of the first external bloggers for the World Advertising Research Centre) means I can also provide case studies, company profiles, and whitepapers focused on branding, communications, digital media, and market research.

For more information on the services I provide and to discuss your project needs, please email editor@varsityblah.com.