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Marcel Hunter

Mrs. Thomas

UWRT 1104

What makes a college student successful

High school has finally come to a close! Many students have implemented

different learning tactics to get them past high school. Strategies including: cramming

the night before a test, turning in work that was more quantity based than quality, and a

low overall effort to receive a passing grade in high school. However, study habits and

work ethic must be changed because college is vastly different from high school. In

college, students have to battle a new environment and events that they have never

experienced before such as living all by themselves and having classes with more than

one hundred students in them. The big question that incoming freshman ask is what

makes a college student successful. Success in college can be defined in many ways,

but different solutions can occasionally outweigh the others. College students can

achieve success in many ways, but it all depends on the concepts that they apply to

their lives on a daily basis. In my paper, I have compiled different factors that I believed

to be prevalent in my research. The elements that I have chosen are what I think are

significant factors that are needed for college students to be successful. Organization,
Marcel Hunter

Mrs. Thomas

UWRT 1104

Sleep and experiencing failure are critical factors that could substantially increase the

chances of college success.

The first well-known factor for success is organization. Utilizing all your tools in a

neat and planned out manner can benefit the users so that they can be less stressed,

well planned, and receive more time for themselves. Stress can be relieved or avoided

when one organizes themselves because they are always on top of their work.

Organized students color code their work, Dr. Mariam Adawiah Dzulkifli, with a Ph.D. in

the department of psychology stated that “Color is believed to be the most important

visual experience to human beings.” Dr. Dzulkifli also stated, “ a marketing study has

found that color can increase brand recognition up to 80%." This is because marketers

use color in order to grab the attention of their intended audience. In an educational

setting, using colors to highlight your work and Color code your assignments/notes can

help students preserve information based on the colors activating the portion of your

brain that retains information. All assignments and notes should be color coded

because the user will be able to differentiate their work. Also, Organized students take

time to record all assignments and test dates in an agenda or a planner. This can be

either digital or physical, but that's all determined by personal preference.

Writing all your work down in one single area is significant because it will have all

the information that leads to an upcoming assignment or test.aslo, the student wouldn't

have to look through different papers to find critical information. Based on past

experiences using an agenda helped me space out the time needed to complete

multiple assignments. Deadlines will never look daunting, unachievable or stressful. The
Marcel Hunter

Mrs. Thomas

UWRT 1104

workload of tasks will be minimal when the work is spaced out. Students who manage

their time while using a planner can grant them more time for themselves. They will able

be to get their work done and set some time for themselves including family events,

social events and more. No matter what, unplanned events always seem to creep up

behind most students during the worst times, hindering many students from success. An

organized planner will have space in their schedules just in case a problem were to

arise. Dr. Jeff and Dr. Brian, leading national education experts, are very heavy

advocates of organization. They stated, “It’s a proven fact that by setting clear, specific,

and time-dependent goals, you greatly increase your chances of accomplishing...goals.”

As stated their thoughts about organization lifts the idea that planning ahead is a way to

avoid stress. I lack organization skills which would explain why it's difficult for me to get

assignments done, have time for myself, and I can never accordingly adjust for the

unexpected. Organization will give students that cushion just in case there was an

unplanned situation that could get in the way of work. Without Organization, college

students would not be as successful as they are now.

Secondly, sleep is a crucial factor that can determine success. Sleeping is a vital

factor that every student needs to be successful. However, in college, students get a lot

of assignments that can prolong the time that they stay awake. Not just homework,

Clubs, organizations, and social events are all factors that change the number of hours

of sleep students receive. Generally, adults receive less sleep so six or seven hours of

sleep would be considered a good night sleep. The average amount of time needed to

get a good night’s sleep is seven to eight hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep will help

students stay attentive in class, study efficiently, and absorb information correctly and
Marcel Hunter

Mrs. Thomas

UWRT 1104

efficiently. Have you ever tried to get work done after staying up late the night before?

Based on my research sleep has been a recurring topic that is very important because

of the consequences that could be a result of unhealthy sleeping habits. A lack of sleep

could affect a student's cognitive skills, memory, and mood. Many people could admit

that when they are sleepy, it is difficult to get work done. I had sleep deprivation on

multiple occasions unaware that the lack of sleep was affecting my cognitive skills.

Australian studies coming from the article “How Sleep Affects Your Brain” stated that

“sleep deprivation can actually cause brain cells to eat parts of the brain’s synapses.”

This is because the brain cells called astrocytes overwork itself and cleans out worn-out

cells resulting in more brain connections getting broken down. In other words, college

students who think they can get more work done by pulling all-nighters will have a

difficult time trying to get work done rather than a student that receives adequate sleep.

Another reason why sleep is so important is that good sleep can assist the brain when

transferring memory from short-term to long-term memory. Information from started

from Dr. Björn Rasch and Jan Born, both heavily knowledgeable about the

fundamentals of sleep, stated “the waking brain is optimized for the acute processing of

external stimuli that involves the encoding of new information and memory retrieval, the

sleeping brain provides optimal conditions for consolidation processes that integrate

newly encoded memory into a long-term store.” Simply to reinstate, when people go to

sleep the brain moves a lot of short-term information into long-term memory. Based on

personal experience I had to create a presentation and then present that information to

the class. The night before I started the presentation I couldn't be productive no matter

what I did. I separated myself from all distractions, and I even left the house so I could
Marcel Hunter

Mrs. Thomas

UWRT 1104

be completely focused. However, no matter what I tried I was rendered useless. All I

could do was stare at the screen trying to be creative, but nothing good would come

from my head. My brain was like an engine working off of a low fuel tank. Lastly, a lack

of sleep could significantly affect the mood. During my time at UTOP, my whole sleep

schedule was ruined because of our program. Most students reported that they were

going to bed at 12:00 at the earliest. As for me, I noticed that I was not enjoying myself

during some of the daily activities. I found out that when you don't get an adequate night

of sleep, you are prone to less positive experiences. Amie Gordon, a social-personality

psychologist, said that a lack of sleep encourages a negative mood. This is because of

the increase of the amygdala and the portion of the brain that regulates how it's used.

In other words, without rest, it’s easier to have negative experiences and its harder to

repress your anger.

Finally, the final factor that I believe is the most important is experiencing failure.

Shocking right? How could anyone benefit from failure? Failure is believed one of the

best ways for students to learn and grow. When you succeed, students don’t reflect on

their work because it is presumed to be successful. When students fail, they always ask

the question, “Where did I go wrong.” Maya Angelou further elaborates on the subject

by stating “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it

may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you

can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”. The process of learning from our

mistakes retains to our memory so we can avoid the mistake in the future. Failure also

encourages us to be successful because the feeling of success after failure is a blissful

moment. Truman Capote (explain ) states “Failure is the condiment that gives success
Marcel Hunter

Mrs. Thomas

UWRT 1104

its flavor.” Capote further describes the feeling as if it were a wonderful taste. Many

huge Innovators such as Steve Jobs and the Nintendo company has become

successful because of their failures. Steve Jobs, An American Entrepreneur, and

business Magnate created a legacy being the leader of the apple products that are

widely used across the world. Jobs had multiple failures with his products and “even

ousting its founder during a downturn in 1985” stated by Sujan Patel. The Nintendo

company, a gaming company, known for starting the gaming era, had a very rough start

during its earlier years. Based on Sujan Patel “Nintendo’s first offering, the Famicom

console, had to be recalled after only a few months. Atari’s failure in the mid-1980’s left

the American video game market a mess, and the Nintendo NES barely sold when it

was introduced in 1985.” Even with Nintendo's struggles they didn't give up and

continued to strive for success. As a result, The Nintendo company gained popularity

with the creation of the “Mario Brothers” in 1983.

In my personal experiences, failure has been the main engine that has been a

significant learning tool for me, Whether its homework, social friendships, and

exploration, I’ve experienced failure multiple times. I had times where I would fail

drastically as a musician. During performances in jazz band, we would perform solo’s

which is a featured part of the song where an individual's role is the main vocal.

Therefore, my trumpet solo set me apart from the rest of the instruments. My first solo

was a disaster because I was nervous to play in front of the whole class. I didn’t use

enough breath support, and my posture was terrible, resulting in me cracking all of my

notes, getting cold stares from my classmates and being flooded with extreme

embarrassment. Comparatively, I sounded like a wild banshee. Unfortunately, my sound


Marcel Hunter

Mrs. Thomas

UWRT 1104

was much louder because a trumpet is good at projecting sound. My failure was

embarrassing, but I learned to use better posture and breath support. At the same time,

I realized that experiencing failure was a useful tool for my confidence. I wouldn't get as

nervous whenever I performed because I was used to playing in front of crowds and I

wasn't afraid to make mistakes because I knew it was never going to be as bad as the

first time. Sometimes I don’t call bad experiences failures. Instead, I would call them

learning experiences that we can use to help better yourself and our learning process.

Overall success can be defined in many ways, and it can indeed be determined

by what individuals would define success. Organization can help students manage

stress, sleep can improve student’s health, and the experience of failure can help

students grow and invoke change. Within all of the discussed topics, each is examples

used by many college students to be successful but what is the best factor for college

success? The answer is not a single one. All of them are very important and are needed

to be successful, but it all depends on the students and what they struggle with and

need to improve on. Other voices are used and explain the importance of their subject

however they don’t ever dismiss or undermine another factor because it is a universal

agreement that multiple factors are needed for success to come forth.