Faculty of Geodesy University of Zagreb
Vodič za studente - korisne informacijeGuide for Students - useful information
How to become and remain a successful student?
Who is a successful student?
Some people think that successful students are those who have not difficulties and problems during their studies; those who never fail their examination; those who have all A’s in their student’s transcript; those who are satisfied with the study programme chosen, those who try to solve the problems, and not avoid them (and there will certainly be some problems); those who “live” also outside of faculty lecture rooms and libraries.
A successful student is by all means the one who passes his/her examinations, but also finds time to go to the cinema, theatre, plays some instrument and sings, dances... does something else that makes him happy.
What can cause problems or difficulties during the studies?
- Wrongly chosen study programme,
- Lack of attraction in some courses,
- Bad working habits,
- Decline in motivation,
- Loss of self-confidence,
- Not being able to face the problems and avoiding to look for help,
- And many, many other things.
How can the mentioned problems be solved?
Wrongly chosen study programme
It is possible that you have chosen the study programme that does not meet your expectations or wishes, or maybe even your capabilities. Try to analyse whether your choice has been the right one. Talk to someone about your dilemmas and doubts, however, only you can make the final decision about a new study programme, or about pursuing the one you have chosen first.
Mistakes are a part of our life and they can happen to everyone.
Lack of attraction in some courses
It is not realistic to expect that all subjects within the frame of the chosen study programme will be interesting and attractive. However, every subject probably contains interesting material, as well as the material less interesting. Usually, the less attractive stage is replaced by more interesting period.
Bad working habits, lack of learning skills
Difficulties in learning can occur if you continue to use the same learning methods that were perhaps effective in your school days. Learning at the faculty is different from learning in school – it demands more independent work, more self-discipline, more persistency and much more time.
Your learning will be more successful if: you know yourself, your characteristics that are important for successful learning and if you use at least some of learning skills.
What has helped you, and what has distracted you in learning so far?
- do you learn more easily and more quickly in the morning or evening hours;
- do you learn more easily and more quickly when reading a book, teaching material, or when listening to someone? Is it easier for you when you make notes, sketches, scheme;
- do you need complete silence when learning or you can focus on your work even when there is music playing, someone talking, the noise coming from the street etc.;
- do you learn more easily in pair, a group, or alone;
- are you more sure in your knowledge if you repeat loudly or if you answer in your mind.
When you can chose (and it will not always be possible), organise your learning in accordance with your own experience and be guided by what has been the most effective for you. However, if it is not possible, invest some effort and adjust!
What are learning skills?
- to know how to determine the time needed for learning;
- to attend lectures and make notes, but not every word. If something has remained unclear or not noted, consult others, look it up in a textbook, lecture material;
- reading skill – if you are a slow reader, you will need more time to learn. It is not connected with abilities, people simply differ in reading speed. It can of course be improved – by more reading;
- selection of learning method. It is possible to learn smaller units or to cover larger part of learning material at once. The selection of a method depends partly on the size of what has to be learned, whether the material is easy , medium easy or very difficult for a student, how long a student can learn without taking a break;
- to check whether you understand what you have learned by asking yourself “why?” or “how?”;
- to repeat, because one forgets what one has learned. It is especially important with larger material to be learned;
- everything learned should be connected with already known material, if possible – it helps to remember better and longer.
Decline in motivation
Motivation drops from time to time, and then one might ask himself/herself “why do I need all this”. If you have not made a mistake in the choice of study programme, it will not last long. It is recommendable to talk to somebody about what is troubling you.
Loss of self-confidence
Failure or fear from failure might make certain influence on you and you start losing self-confidence. Everybody may doubt in their abilities from time to time, but such doubts mostly disappear very quickly by themselves if you do not expect the impossible from yourself.
If you fail an examination or your are not satisfied with the grade, try to find out why it has happened to you:
- not attending the lectures;
- "sleeping" during the lectures;
- bad estimation of time needed for learning;
- bad estimation of what is essential, and what is maybe less important in some course. Maybe you have learned a lot of details and skipped some important issues;
- wrong method of preparing the examination – you have to prepare yourself for oral exams by speaking loudly in order to hear yourself and find out whether you can present some explanation meaningfully, answer certain questions, etc. ;
- insufficient level of learning – if you have not learned enough, everything that you hear the others talk about will seem familiar and easy – this so called level of recognizing. But this level is not sufficient for independent reproduction, i.e. meaningful answering the questions that results with positive grade;
- too much fear that has made it impossible for you to show how much your really know. Try to find out what you have been really afraid of.
Not being able to face the problems and avoiding to look for help
Bad working habits or great fear will not disappear simply because you avoid thinking about them. It is much more efficient to face the troubles.
Every difficulty or a problem will not be solved by themselves. It is important to have someone you trust, someone you can talk to openly about what’s bothering you. Sometimes, it is your friend, sometimes a parent, brother or sister, boyfriend or girlfriend, maybe psychologist, priest...
Every problem can be at least reduced if not solved completely, but only if we admit that it exists.
Learning is an extremely important job of every student, and his/her degree highly precious and important goal. But it is not the only one in life. Along with taking care that you pass your examinations, try to be more tolerant, patient, more responsible, more independent and more altruistic... in one word, a better person.
Go to the cinema, theatre, visit exhibitions, make trips, do sports, socialize... The more satisfied you are with yourself, the better will be the results of your learning.
What to do in your life?
Some trader wanted to educate his soon quickly. After seeing how extensive the school programme was given to him by the school principal, he asked in astonishment:
"Does my son really have to learn all that? I will pay you to shorten the education. How much do you ask?"
The school principal replied calmly:
"It all depends on what do you want your kid to become. You see, when God creates an oak tree, he takes 20 years for it. But if he wants to create a pumpkin, two months are enough".
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