The end of the academic year has arrived, or will soon arrive for those of you still in session. It is a great time for reflection, especially after your grades are posted! If you are a student who is looking at her/his grades and wondering “what the …?!” Are you attempting to provide justification for the grade letter behind the course name? Today, I offer up this article from Entrepreneur magazine: The Incredible Power of Believing in Yourself.
Author, Matt Mayberry, begins, “To live a life of high achievement, you must fully believe in yourself.” He then lists names of some well-known high achievers, but adds this, “However, it’s not their levels of success that I want to talk about. It’s their willingness to get up again and again when they failed or experienced a setback while in pursuit of creating the life of their dreams.” Those words aren’t only good advice for entrepreneurs, but for everyone!
As you are looking at your earned grades, do you find yourself casting blame on someone other than yourself for poor letter grades? Did you receive that grade because ‘the professor is a tough grader,’ or ‘the course content went so quickly there was no way anyone could keep up,’ or ‘the members of the group project didn’t try hard enough,’ or any other reason that does not include “I …”? Often it is much easier to blame someone else for a negative situation that affects oneself, but in doing so you don’t take accountability, and then, what is learned? (My answer to that: “nothing.”)
How can a person learn to take accountability if no one ever challenges the person to reflect on outcomes? I suggest, you, student, take out a piece of paper and write the name of the course, on which you received your lowest grade, at the top of the page. Draw a vertical line down the center of the page, and on the left side of the vertical line write ‘Advice,’ and on the right side write ‘Successes.’ Under the ‘Advice’ header, make a list of ways you could have done better in the course. Under the ‘Successes’ header, make a list of things learned in the course. Not a list of learned theory/course content, but a list that reflects things that make you a better student and person. Then, reflect on both lists. You now have given yourself feedback, which hopefully becomes motivation, while also acknowledging what went well. This is an act of taking accountability (for the grade), and also, like the title of the included article, an act of believing in yourself!
Mayberry’s article is written for an audience of business professionals, but it is very applicable to a student; right now, you are a student/college entrepreneur, running your own company, and your company’s mission is designing the path toward your degree and career! The author labels his acts of taking accountability under two themes, “Count Your Wins” and “Talk to yourself like a Champion.” Both activities have good recommendations.
Take some time to reflect on this academic year. Do the accountability activity of Advice and Successes for all your recent courses – even the ones with great grades, it will make you better prepared for your next academic term!
(If you like this blog, check-out the blog I wrote a few weeks ago titled ‘Failure Stories’ it has similar themes. You’ll find it a little farther down this page!)