Who is the good student? Who is this elusive creature? This being we all wanted to be at some point in our academic lives. Does it even exist? Or is it nothing more than a myth, a legend.
These are the questions that keep me up at night. Especially when assignment deadlines and exams are looming. It appears that these thoughts surface (usually) at the beginning of the semester, and after receiving grades at the end of the semester.
Have I had any chance encounters with the good student?
Upon receiving feedback for a major assignment one time, the professor left a footnote: “Congratulations to the student who achieved a perfect score of 100%”. This was my closest encounter with the good student. And boy did it leave a mark in my mind.
I was with a close friend of mine once at the library. He was attempting to borrow a book that was on hold for someone else. He couldn’t have the book, but that didn’t matter. He looked in the librarian’s eyes and said: “Please, I want to be the good student I always wanted to be.”
So who is the good student? What are his or her qualites? How does he or she think? How does he or she feel, or a more appropriate question: does he or she feel at all?
The good student is intelligent. The good student is efficient. The good student is effective. The good student is resourceful. The good student is disciplined. The good student is perceptive. The good student is aware, awake, positive, committed, focused. He has his eyes on the ball at all times of the day. The good student can say no to the charms of a seductive woman and proceed to finish his assignment. The good student knows when to say no an insistent friend who offers to eat out, with him paying. The good student resides at the library studying for five hours with a drop in concentration no more than 7%. The good student never misses a lecture because he slept in or was too tired to go to class due to an all nighter that was necessary to finish an assignment – because he didn’t have an all nighter. The assignment was already finished a week ago.
The good student doesn’t blame his partners for group assignments. He focuses on what he can do to fix the situation, and learns from it for next time. The good student learns from his mistakes. The very few mistakes that he ever makes that is. And to him they are not mistakes, they are ‘learning curves’. One time he decided to go to the science library to study, different to his usual place at the Reid library. He experienced a drop in concentration over 15% after 4 hours of study, and that was a ratio he could not accept. He was never seen at the science library again.
You might think the good student prefers to be a lone wolf. And you are right. But that doesn’t make him any less good in being a partner in group work when need be. In fact, he is the most comfortable and approachable and hardworking person in any group project . The lucky ones who have had the privilege to work with him have nothing less than exceptional words to say about him. And those who have worked with him, as rare encounters as they have had with him, have experienced considerable boosts in productivity and efficiency, though only short lived. However, consistent exposure to the good student may show long lasting effects.
As you can witness for yourselves, the quality and preciseness of my writing has improved dramatically, just by the mere mentioning and discussion of The Good Student. This leads me to my conclusion: In order to become a good student, one must find The Good Student, and learn his ways.
How he obtained his qualities remains a mystery. Did he have a teacher? A mentor? A mindful and masterful Yoda to teach him his ways. Such sheer discipline and work ethic cannot be acquired alone. He most definitely did not teach himself. And neither can I.
I will find him.