Sunday, January 29, 2017

Successful Student Tips: Saying No

Why do some students succeed where others falter? Success isn’t a mysterious secret item that some people own and others don’t, but a series of habits and behaviors. So what does it take to be a successful student? In the Successful Student Tips series we explore some of the keys to success.

“This probably won’t come as a surprise, but I am stepping down as admin.” That was to be my last Skype meeting with the admin team of a busy family-friendly Minecraft server. I was just a few months into my return to college and had come to realize that the term “free time” no longer applied to me. I could have possibly still made it work – if only I had 48 hours in a day.

Fast-forward, and a year later I was resigning the role as officer of a club on campus and turning down numerous invitations for other extracurricular activities for the same reason.

The truth is that in order to succeed at something, you might have to say “no” to other things – even if they’re great opportunities. Taking on too much could mean settling for mediocrity, or even failure, where you could have otherwise excelled. I see these college years as a pause from regular life. My friends hardly see me and my son has gotten used to my door being shut in the afternoons. But good grades and the opportunities that come with them take a lot of long study hours. If it doesn’t bring in an income, give me an “A”, or I didn’t birth it, I usually say “no.”

Each of you will have different pressures and different priorities. Some of the things I turned down would be great opportunities to someone else, and vice-versa. Be sure to prioritize what will best achieve your goals, then cut out the excess. Saying “no” to the things that are eating up your time allows you to focus on what’s really important. 

Gaynell Buffinet Payne is a writer, single mother, and student at Volunteer State Community College. She also blogs for Vol State's Returning Adult Learners.

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