Academic Success Essay
The first time I went to college, I dropped out after one semester. Convinced I both wanted and needed a college degree, I tried again. And again. And again. For me, it took five attempts at college before I eventually earned my first degree. I have written this book for anyone who is concerned that something similar or even worse might happen to you. Having earned four academic degrees and spent 15 years teaching in colleges and universities across the United States, I have come to an understanding of education that is not widely shared with the general public. I have written this book to share that understanding with you.
In Chapter One, I explain three truths about academic success that you need to know if you want to succeed in school. Your struggles to succeed academically may simply be due to a misunderstanding of these three simple truths about learning and succeeding in an academic setting. To help you understand whether your mindset is conducive to academic success, Chapter Two of this book contains three easy to administer tests. Completing these three tests will help you to determine if you have the right mentality for academic success. Once you have completed these three simple tests, you will —————————————
5 Academic Success For All have a much better understanding of why you struggle to experience success in school while others make it seem so easy to achieve. You will also have some insights about the changes you may need to make in order for academic success to be yours. Knowing how the minds of successful people differ from your own can give you a tremendous boost, but the ability to adjust your mind to work like that of a successful person¶s is perhaps the most powerful tool. yThaout c is awn hhy in ave Chapter 3 I teach you how to actually change the way your mind works.
In this chapter I introduce you to the growing field of energy psychology, which is being used by coaches, medical professionals and therapists and by individuals who want to change the ways their brains respond to specific forms of environmental stimuli. I tell you about a revolutionary form of meridian tapping, called Emotional Freedom Techniques, or EFT. EFT combines knowledge that has recently emerged in the field of psychology with knowledge of the bodys energy system that has existed for centuries. In fact, EFT uses the same meridians that are used in Chinese acupuncture. But unlike acupuncture, you can do EFT yourself.
And because EFT is so easy to learn and simple to use, you can use EFT to overcome just about any barrier you can identify as standing between you and the success you desire, including the discoveries you make about yourself that explain your struggles to succeed academically. And using EFT is safe. Reported side effects of EFT include increased feelings of calm, greater clarity about how to proceed in life, and increased happiness. Today EFT is being used by thousands of people who wish to alter the patterns in their brains that they have identified as blocking their access to success.
In fact, a Page 2 ————————————— 6 Academic Success For All recent study of college students who experienced pre-test anxiety showed that EFT was effective at reducing their anxiety. Because numerous studies have demonstrated the challenges that stress and anxiety place on ones ability to learn, students who can lower their anxiety generally perform better on tests. If the main reason for your inability to succeed in your academic pursuits is pre- test anxiety, you can skip right to Chapter Three to learn how EFT can help.
But chances are your success is limited by more than one factor. Reading Chapters One and Two will help you to identify all of the factors that stand between you and your academic success. Page 3 ————————————— 7 Academic Success For All About the Author Before I share with you the three secrets to academic success that anyone pursuing an academic degree must know, I would like to tell you a little bit about myself and how I came to an understanding of these three secrets. Today, I have four different academic degrees, including a doctorate from Harvard.
But my path to earning these degrees was not an easy one. In fact, I dropped out of college four times before I finished my first degree. The challenges I faced upon entering college for the first time not only took me by surprise, they completely disrupted everything I had consciously believed to be true about myself up until that time, especially my belief that college success would be easy for me. In addition to having spent a good many years of my adult life as a college student, I have also spent more than fifteen years teaching college students at every academic level.
And I have run a successful dissertation coaching business, helping doctoral candidates finish their research, write their dissertations, and complete their degrees. You see, my understanding of the three secrets to academic success that I share with you in this book comes from not only my own experiences as both a college drop out and a successful college graduate but also my interactions with and observations of thousands of college students whom I have taught, worked with, counseled, coached and guided throughout my career. Page 4.
————————————— 8 Academic Success For All I am also someone who once struggled to overcome difficult emotions and behavior patterns that interfered with my ability to achieve my goals. I spent years exploring different healing modalities in an effort to overcome the emotions, behavioral patterns, and self-limiting beliefs that stood between me and the life I dreamt of having. Nothing in my experience has been as effective as EFT. Using EFT I have been able to completely change my life and to experience a joy in living that previously eluded me.
I am truly excited to introduce EFT to others who might be struggling as I once did. I feel certain you too can change your life by using EFT. Did you know that an average of 40% of people who enroll in college in the United States today drop out before completing their degrees? I was once one of those drop-outs. But you do not have to be. By the time you have finished reading this book, you will know exactly what to do to succeed academically. You will have three simple tests you can take to assess your own readiness to succeed.
And, if you determine that you are not yet ready for academic success, you will have a tool for aligning your conscious desire for academic success with your subconscious mind, so that you are primed to succeed in your academic pursuits. So lets be gin. Page 5 ————————————— 9 Academic Success For All CHAPTER ONE Three Secrets to Academic Success What I remember most about the first semester I attended college is the feeling I had that everyone around me knew something that I did not know. Though I had been a very successful high school student, I had a very hard time earning passing grades in my college courses.
And after one semester, I dropped out. When I began teaching college students, I met many bright people whose potential thrilled me. But so many of the students I met could not seem to do the work they needed to do to succeed in college. These students failed to come to class or consistently arrived late, did not do their homework, were disruptive in class, and refused to seek out and take advantage of all the additional support available to them for their studies. My experiences with these students convinced me their failures to perform had little to do with their intellectual abilities.
Rather, some students simply seem programmed to automatically self-sabotage their efforts. I often wondered what I could do to help these students stay focused on their studies so that they might reap the benefits that accompany academic success. Page 6 ————————————— 10 Academic Success For All As I continued to pursue my understanding of human development and psychology, both through formal and informal education, I began to understand the way our early life experiences shape the way we go through life as both teenagers and adults. All people are born with unique gifts and talents that are not common to everyone.
But what we do share is the capacity to learn and grow. However, our early life experiences impact that capacity, which in turn impacts our ability to succeed in institutions of learning. These three secrets to academic success reflect my understanding of what made me, and so many of my students, different from students for whom college success comes easily. I present them in a way I hope will help you to understand how early life experiences contribute to patterns of action and reaction that are continually being reinforced throughout adulthood, unless we consciously make efforts to change them.
What I offer here are some basic explanations of the ways our mindsets are shaped by early life experiences and the impact that these mindsets have on our capacity to learn and grow as adults. Hopefully, you will find these explanations illuminate the reasons for some of your own struggles to succeed in school and give you hope that you too can achieve academic success. Page 7 ————————————— 11 Academic Success For All Secret #1ІLearning is not a passive activity The first secret to academic success has two parts.
The first part involves understanding that learning is not a passive activity. It is easy to see that successful students are people who actively engage with the material they are learning. This engagement may happen on a physical levelІ such as when a student conducts a science experiment or creates a class presentationІ but it can also happen on a mental level. Students who are active learners are more likely to listen attentively during lectures, take more meaningful notes in class, and ask probing questions of their teachers and professors.
They are also more likely to connect the information they are learning in their classes to other information they have acquired during their lives. The second part of this secret is that active learning is not something that some people know how to do but others have to learn. An active approach to learning is something that every single person on this planet is born with. If you carefully observe an infant, you will realize that the infant is always actively working to make meaning of its environment.
From the time we are born we are interacting with environmental stimuli and making sense of that stimuli. We are not sitting around passively waiting to be told about the world. We actively seek to learn about the world we have come to inhabit. The fact that we are born with both the desire and the ability to learn means that active learning is an innate ability that exists in each and every human on the Page 8 ————————————— 12 Academic Success For All planet. In other words, every single person on the planet today has within them the capacity to be an active learner.
How then do we explain why certain people eventually take a passive approach to learning? The answer, ironically, is that some individuals have learned that their active pursuit of knowledge and understanding is wrong. They have actually learned to suppress one of their strongest innate drives. One need not look far beyond traditional schooling to understand how such an outcome has occurred. In many classrooms, children are expected to sit quietly in class, memorize everything the teacher says, and then recite what they remember on a test. But is this really learning?
Can students who have been taught in this manner actually make use of the information they have acquired? Education theorists and researchers say no. In fact, years of exposure to such an education does little more than reinforce a passive approach to learning while suppressing any desire to actively engage in on proces essl, eaat lrnieast in ng formal academic settings. As a result, people who continually experience a primarily passive form of education may not fully understand how to actively engage their learning in a classroom setting. Fortunately, active learning is not something we forget.
That is why some students who have experienced a passive learning environment may find themselves welcoming the opportunity to become actively involved in their learning when given the chance. But some studentsІ those who have learned that active learning is wrong, that it in fact may be harmful to their well-beingІ quite often develop a resistance to active learning. This resistance to active learning becomes a block to their academic success. Page 9 ————————————— 13 Academic Success For All Typically, a resistance to active learning is not something that students are aware of consciously.
That is because this resistance lies in the subconscious regions of the mind, where it can be very difficult to identify. But a sure sign that someone has an aversion to active learning can be seen in the individual¶s behavior. Students who have learned to resist active learning will engage in behaviors that actually impede their ability to learn. For instance, these students may avoid coming to class or may create disruptions when they are in class. They do not do their homework. They refuse to engage with the classroom as a community of like-minded peers.
These behaviors are done in an effort to avoid the difficult feelings that may arise for them whenever they try to actively engage with the material they are meant to learn. Because humans are wired to be learning from the time they are born, this resistance to learning is clearly something that has been learned. Typically, a resistance to learning can be linked to a past event during which the individual learned to associate active learning with a threat to either their physical or their emotional well-being. All of us have memories from the past stored in our subconscious.
These memories inform the unique way that each of us makes sense of the world. To understand how this works, consider your response to the smell of apple pie baking in the oven. If even the mention of apple pie evokes a positive feeling in you, this is likely because you have one or more positive memories of eating apple pie. Perhaps you can recall the warmth and love you experienced in your grandmothers kitchen, where she frequently baked you apple pies. When you smell the apple pie, or even bring the thought of apple pie to your mind, you do Page 10 ————————————— 14.
Academic Success For All not instantly remember all the positive experiences you have had of eating apple pie. Instead, what arises in you first is the feeling that you associate with these memories. Similarly, people who have repeated or powerful negative experiences with active learning begin to associate the undesirable feelingsІ fear, humiliation, anxietyІ with any opportunity to engage in learning in this way. Though the actual negative experiences may not be readily available to the conscious mind, the feelings associated with the experiences are. Here¶s nota her very basic example of how this works.
Imagine an infant gets hold of a small object and immediately places that object in his mouth. The child¶s caretaker becomes frightened and responds by yelling, which in turn frightens the child. Though the caretakers response may have been intended to discourage the infant from placing small objects in his mouth, the preverbal child may interpret the yelling as a warning that his life is in danger. Of course the life of an infant who places small objects in his mouth is indeed in danger, which is why caretakers can become frantic when they see this type of behavior.
But the infant, whose brain has yet to develop any reasoning ability, lacks the ability to fully grasp the intended lesson and may instead associate the warning cryІ your life is in dangerІ with the impulse to learn, which is probably what the infant was trying to do when he placed the object in his mouth to begin with. Of course, negative experiences with active learning that can lead to learning resistance are not restricted to early childhood. These experiences can also occur in elementary, middle and high school.
Have you ever been reprimanded by a teacher in front of your classmates, all because you were pursuing an internal Page 11 ————————————— 15 Academic Success For All drive to learn? Or maybe you were humiliated by your classmates for making a rather astute remark that no one else in the room could find relevant. Or maybe you have witnessed these types of things happening to a classmate. These kinds of experiences can contribute to the silencing of the internal, inquisitive, knowledge-seeking voice that exists in each of us. They can teach us that the classroom is not a safe place for this voice.
When this lesson turns into a subconscious belief it can later create tremendous turmoil for students who are asked to bring this voice out in the classroom, the very place where they learned it was not safe to exist. Situations like these leave an imprint on the subconscious memory that links learning to something that is life threatening. If learning evokes a subconscious feeling of fear that your life is in danger, you naturally resist learning. And this may explain why it is so hard for you to become an active learner and succeed in school. You have simply learned to resist learning.
The good news is that if you have learned to resist learning, you can unlearn it as well. As this example demonstrates, resistance to learning is nothing more than a conditioned response to an environmental stimulus. Fortunately, research has demonstrated that such conditioned responses can be reversed. The tests in Chapter Two of this book are meant to provide you with an opportunity to identify any negative responses you have to learning that are standing in your way of academic success. In Chapter Three of this book you will read exactly how to reverse the negative responses you have identified.
Page 12 ————————————— 16 Academic Success For All Secret #2ІLearning is creative The second secret to academic success also has two parts. The first part of this secret is that learning is a creative act. Successful students are people who consistently draw on their creative abilities to help them make sense of the material they are learning. As new information reaches their brains, these students subconsciously make connections between the new information and information they have already encountered.
If their brains cannot create the links on their own, creative individuals know to ask others to help them make those links. The second part of this secret is that every single person on the planet has the capacity to be creative. Just as we are born with the impulse to actively pursue learning, so too are we born with the capacity to create. Creativity is our birthright! Our creativity is involved in how we make sense of the world and is intimately connected with our ability to learn. Our creativity allows us to take in new information, process it, and make sense of it in ways that may be entirely new and unique.
But if our creativity is blocked, then learning becomes a challenge. In our society people often link creativity with the arts. They have difficulty understanding the importance of creativity to anything that is not related to painting, writing, or music. But where would people like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Matt Mullenweg be today if they were not creative? Page 13 ————————————— 17 Academic Success For All As we saw with active learning, blocks to our creativity are created by life experiences.
Every life experience, and especially those we have early in our lives, is an opportunity for a block to be created. Do you remember playing with crayons, markers, or paints when you were a child? Perhaps you can remember playing in a sandbox, the dirt, or on the beach. Most people who recall these early days of their lives remember being very uninhibited in their explorations. Young children are enormously skilled at finding creative ways of engaging and manipulating their environments.
Even children who lack access to modern toys and crafting supplies will be creative with whatever tools are available: rocks, sticks, dirt, snow, even items that other people might normally discard, all are potential tools for creativity in the hands of a child. When the child¶s creations are received in a positive or even a neutral environment, the child¶s creativity will reed maandi wn uninhill growi abindt develop with that child, assisting and supporting her in creating a satisfying and rewarding life. But many children¶s creations are judged or condemned, perhaps most damagingly by well-meaning parents, teachers, or caregivers.
When these judgments or condemnations are repeated or severe, the child may learn to suppress the innate desire to create. Popular childrens literature is ripe with examples of evil caretakers who punish childrens creativity. Consider what happens Greto Htel wahensn theyel a nd creatively use small white pebbles to find their way home after being abandoned in the woodsІ they are simply abandoned again, but without any warning that would give them the opportunity to prepare a means of finding their way home. Page 14.
————————————— 18 Academic Success For All In fairy tales, children who are so abused typically prevail. In real life however, events that suppress the creative impulse may be neither as blatantly abusive nor as easy to identify. Can you remember a time in your life when you were reprimanded, humiliated, or even dismissed for something that you had created? If you cannot recall a specific incident in your own life, consider this example. Imagine a preverbal child who decides to use crayons or markers on the living room wall.
The curious child is simply exploring her environment and using her creative abilities to make sense of the objects she finds there. Now imagine the response of the parent who discovers the child in the midst of her act of creating. If the parent¶s response feels threatening to the child, the child may learn to associate the act of being creative with the negative feelings brought on by the parent¶s threatening response. The child then reasons that the easiest way to avoid experiencing these negative feelings, which are stored in the bodys subconscious memory, is to avoid engaging creativity.
As we saw with resistance to learning, the aversion to u is sing one¶s creativity really just a conditioned response to an environmental stimulus. The child has simply learned to associate being creative with unpleasant feelings. Avoiding those unpleasant feelings can be accomplished by avoiding anything that involves creativity. Since academic success requires creativity, we can now understand how one might subconsciously choose to avoid being successful there. Page 15 ————————————— 19 Academic Success For All.
The sad news here is that creativity is a prerequisite for success in just about anything you might want to do in life. The good news is that you can change your conditioned response to accessing your creativity. The tests in Chapter Two of this book will help you to determine if your creativity is blocked and to uncover potential sources of those blocks. And then in Chapter Three I explain exactly how you can clear any blocks you have identified. Page 16 ————————————— 20 Academic Success For All Secret #3ІLearning takes time.
The third secret to academic success involves time. Quite simply, successful students are people who devote lots of time to their learning. Learning and the creativity it demands are time consuming endeavors. God may have created the universe in 6 days, but it will take you a lot longer than that to earn a degree. If you do not have time to devote to your goals, you will not reach them. Few people know that the average amount of homework a college student should expect each week is 3 hours for every academic unit enrolled.
In other words, if you are taking a 3-unit course, you should expect to devote an average of 9 hours each week to studying and preparing for just this one course. If you take five 3- unit courses, or 15 units, you should plan to have about 45 hours devote to your homework, every week! In contemporary society, we have countless potentially time-saving devices that might help us to complete that homework much faster. In reality, these devices are often the downfall of many college students. The computer is just one example.
Certainly word processing programs are lifesavers for college students who once had to spend countless hours typing their papers on manual typewriters. But how many people use computers only to type their papers? Most of us are familiar with the Internet and at times find its allure difficult to resist. We are information junkies, and the Internet is our favorite dealer. Even if we arent surfing the web for infa tormaone indtiion, cating a newly arrived message to our email inbox can be enough to pull us away from the task at hand. Page 17 ————————————— 21.
Academic Success For All Television, smart phones, iPadsall these fabulous devices can actually serve as unwelcome deterrents to our learning. This is partly due to the fact that people who have negative emotions associated with learning and creating find electronic devices to be powerful narcotics. If you are a person who watches a lot of TV, sends numerous text messages, has an obsession with all the latest applications for your iPhone, or spends hours surfing the Internet you probably do not have time for your own learning and creating.
This is very convenient if you are trying to avoid the uncomfortable sensations that arise when you are trying to learn. Sadly, we do not need to have a traumatic early childhood experience to suffer from an addiction to any of these devices. Todays advertisers are very savvy. They know how to access the subconscious layers of the individual psyche to convince us that we need their products in order to be happy. And if we are in an environment where everyone else has access to these devices, we cannot help but feel we need them ourselves.
Lacking the self-discipline to turn off these devices when we need to devote our time to learning can create real problems for people who are trying to achieve academic success. But even people who are not addicted to technology may have difficulty finding the time they need to succeed in school. Some people have developed deep-seated subconscious beliefs about how they should be spending their time, beliefs that do not include devoting time to study, or that place study time at the bottom of a long list of other priorities.
Until these subconscious beliefs are eliminated, finding adequate time to devote to studying will be a challenge that will impede their academic success. Page 18 ————————————— 22 Academic Success For All To summarize, the three secrets about learning that are critical to academic success are 1) academic success requires active engagement with the material being learned, 2) academic success requires using onecrea¶tis vity, and 3) academic success requires time.
These first two secrets relate to qualities that exist in every human being from the time they are born. Unfortunately, while everyone is born with the capacity to learn and create, some people have early life experiences that cause them to have unpleasant reactions to learning and creating. These people may actually go out of their way to avoid the negative feelings they subconsciously associate with learning and creativity, thereby sabotaging their efforts to succeed in school. The third requirement for academic success is time.
How people make use of their time depends on a number of factors, including subconscious beliefs that interfere with their ability to make sufficient time for academic success. The tests provided in Chapter Two of this book will help you to determine whether self-limiting beliefs are impeding your academic success. They will also help you to determine whether you have an addiction to technology that is interfering with that success. And they will help you to understand whether unpleasant emotions and memories are subconsciously interfering with your efforts to succeed academically.
EFT can be used to clear blocks to success that are created by any one of these factors, be they subconscious beliefs, unpleasant memories, or self-limiting thoughts and addictions to technology or other time-draining devices. Clearing these blocks is like clearing debris from a hiking trail after a storm. Think of the trail you are clearing as the one that leads to your success. Page 19 ————————————— 23 Academic Success For All In order to reap the greatest benefits from EFT, you will find it helpful to identify the precise barriers that stand between you and your academic success.
That is because EFT works best when it is applied to very specific conditions. The three tests for assessing your readiness to succeed academically that are provided in Chapter Two will help you to identify the specific unpleasant emotions, troubling memories, and self-limiting beliefs that may be acting as barriers to your success. In Chapter Three you will learn exactly how to clear these barriers in order to achieve the success that can be yours. Page 20 ————————————— 24.
Academic Success For All CHAPTER TWO Testing Your Readiness to Succeed Academically I am convinced that the main reason education is so attractive to people from all walks of life and at every stage of their lives is because becoming educated should provide us with opportunities to do the very things we were born to doІ learn and create. Not only does schooling in general offer us this opportunity, college in particular provides us with an environment that is specially designed to support these two activities.
In college we have an opportunity to immerse ourselves in an environment where everyone else is doing what we are there to doІ learn and create. Nearly every member of a campus community is engaged at some level in these activities, be they students, faculty, or staff. This is the allure of college. But for people who have been conditioned to have negative emotional responses to learning and creating, who have self-limiting beliefs about their learning and creative abilities, or who have unpleasant memories associated with learning and creating, school becomes a tremendous challenge.
To make matters worse, for many people, the impact of these negative emotional responses, self-limiting beliefs, and unpleasant memories may not be understood at a conscious level. The body is an energy field that stores memories, beliefs and emotions at a cellular level. Even if we arent consf whaciout lsly aimits uws, arethos oe Page 21 ————————————— 25 Academic Success For All limitations control our behaviors. Nearly every choice we make in life is influenced by the memories that are stored in our cells.
The good news is that we now have a method for clearing the energy blocks that are formed by these negative emotions, beliefs and experiences. But in order for this method to work, we need to develop a certain degree of self-awareness. A lack of self-awareness can stand between you and the goals you wish to achieve. We are fortunate to live in a world that offers us numerous ways to spend our time. But along with all this opportunity for countless ways to spend our time come endless messages about how we should spend it.
Rarely, if ever, are we told to turn off all the outside noise and focus our attention on ourselves. This is the paradox of contemporary life. For it is only when we become still and quiet enough to hear and follow the guidance that comes from within that we are able to find a direction for our lives that will lead us to happiness and fulfillment. If you dream of academic success but previously have been unable to succeed in your pursuit of that dream, or you have any doubts about your ability to succeed in school, I urge you to take the three tests that are included on the following pages of this chapter.
Subject: Educational psychology,
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 24 September 2016
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