Tips for enterprising students

By Kenneth Chimese
IN one of his business literary works, writer and chief executive officer of Business Dictionary.Com, Thomas Murcko shares interesting lessons that he learnt from the Information and Communication Technology legendary, Steve Jobs.
Murcko an entrepreneur, connoisseur and raconteur on business ethics, found in the late Steve Jobs what he felt was worthy of emulation. The CEO decided to compile a list of lessons which when linked to pursuits for better education, can be helpful to any serious learner.
If well applied, these lessons have the potential of transforming an individual student into one who can demonstrate purpose, positive character and also bring out the best out of a learner’s intellectual capacity.
Murcko suggests that being bold is an important ingredient in one’s make up. Often, students who are bold find it easier to get on with tasks given to them. The high degree of timidity which most students show towards their teachers does not help instill personal confidence. And yet, it can be noted that a timid student has less chance of getting the most out of their teacher. They wait and only act on what the teacher suggests. Good students will challenge their teacher to explain things further or prod him/her to give them fair tasks equal according to their potential.
A student needs to have a probing mind to question the validity of any explanation. One needs to ask the ‘Why’ questions to establish the cause and reasons behind certain phenomena. This will enable such a student to stretch their own imagination and try to find answers to problems around them.
While students are expected to follow the set school rules, it is important that each learner sets their own dos and don’ts. Such rules are easy to abide by. One may set rules on how to utilize school time, which friends to play with and what study habits to adopt, including what literature to read. The student will become more disciplined, focused and notably responsible.
Learning with intensity is one other hallmark of an industrious student. School time is limited and therefore hardworking students will not spend time on small or less important things. If participating in sports day is not important to a student, such a one should stay away and spend that time on something more academically valuable. The point is, if a student feels something is not worth doing with intensity, then such a thing should not even be done at all.
It is a fact that every school or university has some very brilliant students. A discerning and determined student should be able to identify the ‘A’ students in the group and learn from them. The rule is, always learn from the best. There is no use having a cohort of academically challenged students for regular companions in school. Friendships between average students are often of very little academic profit.
It is wrong for any student to want to think that they can only learn from a teacher or from the school. Valuable academic and life lessons can be learnt from a social gathering. Often, human beings share life experiences without necessarily intending to teach anyone. The environment gives opportunities for any alert and observant student to draw limitless lessons from it. So ‘Let everything be one’s teacher’ and ‘Let the environment be one’s school’.
Steve Job’s Apple took the best ideas from all fields. It is recorded that ‘The early Macintosh team included people with backgrounds in music, poetry, art, history and other liberal arts’. A successful student will not narrow his scope of learning and restrict it only to include specified curriculum content. It is a mark of a knowledgeable person to know something about everything. Knowledge gained from one field may complement ability to solve a different task.
Good students think for themselves. The tendency to always want to find answers in a written text is only good insofar as it produces a dependent student. Great scholars will use information only to further their thinking. They always want to contribute to the existing wealth of knowledge on a particular subject. Opportunities for expression of independent critical thinking must be availed to students at whatever level in school.
‘Put a dent in the Universe,’ commanded Jobs. ‘Act like what you do matters, because it does.’ If a student wants to leave an impact on the college or university, that impression must be a positive one.
Results obtained in an examination must be the kind which are bigger than oneself’! Astonishing results require extraordinary efforts. For any student to excel much more than their own expectation, they need to apply extraordinary effort. If it means studying longer hours than usual, and losing a few nights’ sleep, then that has to be done.
Comments to: kennethchimese@hotmail.co.uk; 0966 902506, 0974 469073.

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