When I was an instructor, I heard more than once from an unhappy student, “But I’ve come to every class and did all the assignments.” I sympathized with such students; after all, many of us believe that if we just show up and do what we’re asked, we’ll be successful. And that very well may work in some situations. But not when things get hard. Then it takes more than just showing up to succeed.
That’s when you have to shift gears and be more conscientious. In the article, “5 Characteristics of Grit–How Many Do You Have?”, Margaret Perlis says that the conscientious are those who “work tirelessly, try to do a good job, and complete the task at hand.” What does this mean for students who are trying to succeed in the classroom?
- They come to class with the right mindset. They’re not there to endure 50 or 75 minutes. They’ve come to learn. They put put away their phones. They don’t have Facebook open on the laptop.
- They put in the time. They do not expect everything to come to them in a class period or a hour study session.
- But they know it takes more than time. The amount of time put in means little if learning or improvement aren’t taking place.
- They complete assignments to learn the material, not just for the grades involved.
- They study returned assignments to see where improvements can be made.
Being conscientious is not flashy, but it’s the cornerstone of success.