“The teacher has a really thick accent.”
“He doesn’t teach what will be on the test.”
“She doesn’t seem to know what she is talking about.”
These are all excuses that I have used in the past. I am sure many of you have used some variation. While they may be useful for venting, ultimately they got me nowhere. In fact, statements like these have always given me excuses to quit trying. The natural flow of thought being that my fate is relegated to some circumstances beyond my control. Luckily I learned early how to correct this thinking.
Because I am a stubborn person by nature, I naturally like a challenge. For some reason, when placed in classes like this I, and several of my peers, buckle down and deal with what ever road blocks have been placed before us. Meanwhile some students just roll over, content to take what they believe fate has handed them. So what is the difference in the two groups?
In my opinion it is thinking. In fact this is substantiated by various pieces of research presented in The Art of Learning. When studying students they generally can be classified into two mindsets: I control the outcome or the outcome is out of my control. Students who believe they control scholastic outcomes will equate their studying habits to their level of success. Students who don’t believe they control scholastic outcomes tend to believe their level of success is determined by the teacher or their natural abilities (these are the students who say “I am just not good at math,” when they do poorly on a math test). The excuses they conjure up give them the out they need, it allows them to no longer try. It may even be a defense mechanism, you can’t be disappointed by your performance if you don’t try.
So how can you fix this? My first piece of advice is to accept everything. Whether this applies to school or any complication in life. Until you fully accept your current circumstances you cannot change them. For example, you could spend time wishing your teacher had better English and no accent. But that won’t change the present circumstances. The first thing you should do is accept that you will have difficulty understanding this professor. When you do that you can move in a positive direction and spend time on solutions, not wishes.
This is the first step. I plan to write more, and break it up into digestible chunks. But try this, the next time you catch yourself wishing things were different just stop. Think about how the situation is, and take a breath. Just accept it. Then we can tackle whats next, action.
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