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How to Recognize A Serious Student

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All that glitters is not gold. Similarly, a popular Igbo proverb says that because all lizards lie on their stomach, you will never know the one(s) that have running stomach. I wonder if lizards do have running stomach but that’s just by the way.

What’s my point?

Ok. There are so many students in schools but then, there are students and there are students…

It could also be hard as well as confusing to identify those who are really qualified to bear honorable status of student i.e. those who are really the serious and those who aren’t.

What spurred me into this direction?

Just the other day, I was chatting with a very worried parent whose child seem to be unable to graduate from the university 3 years after the normal duration of his 5 year course. I was alarmed because I immediately knew why this parent was going through…for the past three years, maybe.

I really felt for him because his worriment really showed.

How could I tell him that shitty things like that can happen…? I mean, how can I tell him that it was partly his fault that things are the way they are now simply because he rather left it too late with regards to checking up on his boy’s academic progress up until now…? How can I tell him that there is thing called “carry-over” which is course/s that his boy must have failed and must pass before he can graduate…?


When he said that he is even more confused now than ever because he is tired of hearing different version of the almost impossible mumbo-jumbos his boy was regularly spitting out, I knew I just had to tell him.

That was because I sensed it from something he said and from the way he unknowingly hinted me that he now suspects his boy was an unserious student.

In case you are in the same boat like this parent, or maybe you really want to rate your wards, or your friends and/or even yourself to know if s/he is a serious student or not or to know how serious you are with your academics, I will try to help you do so by presenting you with some of these pointers with which you can base your serious-student evaluation upon.

This is how. A serious student…

Knows his/her Grade Point Average (GPA)

I don’t know any other better method than this with which to instantly identify a serious student. In fact, I think it is the fastest way to identify a serious student on the spot!

Your GPA is the standard used in ranking and rating students’ performance in college so any serious student is supposed to be aware of this very important score.

Granted, it is not always possible for many students to know the exact figure but then when you come across any student who does not even have any slightest idea what his or her own GPA figure is, like this sophomore student that even asked me “what is GP?”, take it from me, you are looking at a confirmed unserious student.

So do you know your GPA?

You see what I'm saying?

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Knows the nature of the question of any upcoming examination(s)

This is so true because any serious students must have done his or her assignment thoroughly and must have mastered all the “tricks” which the lecturer or examiner is going to adopt in the exams proper.

A serious student knows that the exam questions are not going to be very much different from those of the assignments and past question papers and as such s/he have familiarized as well as prepared himself very well with them so well for the sake of what lies ahead.

S/he is never taken unawares because s/he is always prepared.

In fact, the real serious students are known to be able to complete ALL their major school work one or two month’s ahead before the examination timetable comes out! This is one of the reasons why some very sharp students who don’t seem to be reading (that much) still stay tops in the class at the end of the day!

But if you come across any fidgeting student who is confused and sometimes completely lost (most especially on the exam day just some few hours before the exams start), simply because s/he does not have any inkling what the exam questions may look like, my two cents, s/he is a very very unserious student.

S/he has failed to plan by preparing early enough and as such has failed already unless “help” in the form of exam malpractice comes from “somewhere”…

One other thing, a serious student usually has an idea of his examination score even before the papers are marked once he is through with that very paper.

I can almost hear you say, “…and so does the unserious student too!” but then I know you know what I am talking about.

Knows where to get help.

A serious student knows where to get help. The help I am about here is not “expo” or “runs” which is just the slang terms used for examination malpractice in Nigeria.

S/he has no need for such distracting things. S/he knows that there’s dignity in labor and so s/he will always strive to achieve excellence through honest labor.

Most times, you see some students complaining that they don’t know what to read or where to get the reading materials they think they need.

The serious students don’t usually fall into this group.

And that’s because they already know how, when and where they can get easily help. They know when the textbooks they need is available in the library. They know the willing students and/or lecturers who might be kind enough to give them such materials should the need arise.

They know how to make use of the internet to solidify their knowledge in a particular subject rather than wait for the lecturer to carry the whole class usually at his ‘slow’ pace.

Encourages others to succeed.

This is usually because any serious student knows that there is no pride in mediocrity. You may be tempted to think that being the best amongst many who don’t know anything is good but is it?

There is no challenge. There is no zeal or need to keep pushing yourself up to the limit. There is nothing to stimulate the brain. No way to measure how good you are getting. Simply put, there is no fun in studying anymore.

So to avoid this, a serious student will have no other choice than to encourage others to succeed. S/he normally does this either by organizing tutorials or discussion class for a group of people or even the whole class. He will also tell those students who are seeking in truth where to get help.

This will help him kill two birds with one stone. First other students will succeed and they will have no other choice than to attribute this success to him. Secondly, he will have his real reason to be on his toes, up and doing, knowing now that backsliding is not an option.

Besides, by teaching others, s/he is able to learn more.

I have heard many students who are often times complaining that the serious/intelligent students will not easily want to disclose the information on how to get through to others because s/he normally wants to succeed alone.

Inasmuch as I will not want to deny the possibility of selfishness that could sometimes arise, I still know that such students complaining may just be doing so for the sake of excuse. They might not have even tried enough to get this help from the serious ones.

I have this to say to them.

Why are you complaining? Aren’t both of you students or are some students more equal than the others now? See my friend, stop complaining. Stop waiting for that intelligent student to come to you and help you out because most likely, it won’t happen. S/he is not in school because of you. If you need help, go out and seek it. Get off that high horse of yours right now and put on the toga of humility and grab the all help you need from him now that you still have the time…

Knows the full details of “what’s next?”

Many students don’t have any idea why they are in school. Some think it is just normal to be in school while many others think they are doing their parents some form of favor just by doing that.

Many others have come to the conclusion that going to school equates to getting a good paying job in the end.

Yes. I don’t know why you are in school but one good advice I always give to people is to always try as much as possible to identify the reason/s why they are in school or why they want to go to school in the case of those who are still seeking admission.

By doing this simple check and evaluation, one can easily put him or herself in the path of becoming a serious student by putting everything in perspective in less than a minute!

This single action will also expose any student who really wants to succeed in life (after school) to that very open secret that school is not all about academics alone. It will also enable him to realize that really “all work without play makes ….”

Never takes pride in missing lectures.

When he misses his lectures, he normally feels like he has let him down. She knows the importance of lectures. He knows that some tricky lecturers normally base their examination questions on what they said in class more than what you copied down in your notes or what you can find in the textbooks.

Quite unlike his opposite who even rejoices with the news that lectures have been postponed or won’t even hold at all, a serious student never takes pride in missing lectures.

Using Nigerian case as a very good example, school systems and academic calendar are normally haphazard or disorganized because of frequent disruptions mostly from labor strikes.

The unserious student is usually looking forward to such strikes so as to ‘relax’ his brain.

Please don’t make me laugh, ok?

But these strike normally cause the school academic duration to be much reduced such that courses that should have ran for three months or more are rushed through in two or three weeks!

Lecturers may have to adjust by telling students not to cover the whole study area they would have normally covered had it been there was still time…

Hooray! says the unserious student!

This may cause many exams to clash with many students having to write more papers than they could normally handle. And sometimes to ease things off, such papers could be postponed.

Another pleasing news to the ears of the unserious student who doesn’t even know or care that useful time is being wasted.

But all these bother the serious ones. And that’s because s/he knows that s/he is the one at the losing end!

So with all these aforementioned, do you now know how to recognize an unserious student? Or better still, are you a serious student?

You may also want to read about how any university student could easily make a first class grade.

Happy reading.


Emmyboy (author) from Nigeria on August 16, 2011:

You can say it again and again and again. Thanks a lot Jack and thanks for reading.

Apostle Jack from Atlanta Ga on August 13, 2011:

You did it well.

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