Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Being the class clown may get you friends, but not good grades. Being the class nerd might get you good grades, but not friends.  How do you find that happy medium that will get you the grades and maintain the friends?

Believe in yourself. If you don't do anything else, believe in yourself. If you want to make the grades you may have to step outside your social circle and do what it takes to get ahead.  That requires self-confidence. The most attractive personal trait  is self-confidence.  If you believe in yourself and your drive to succeed, your peers are more than likely going to follow your lead rather than make fun of your ambition.   

You don't have to be the teacher's pet.  It is ok to raise your hand and share your knowledge, however, you don't have answer every question.  Depending on the maturity level of your peer group, you may not want to draw unnecessary attention to yourself.  There are lots of ways to discreetly set yourself apart from your peers.  Start by turning in your homework on time and performing well on your tests.  The rest of the class does not need to know how much you studied or even what you scored on your exam.  If your friends ask, tell them the truth "I studied," and move on to the next subject.  Don't make a production out of your A+.

Get to know your teachers.  Ask your teachers how you can apply what they have taught you to real life situations or what careers utilize that subject. For example, what kind of job requires me to know algebra? Most teachers will be more than happy to discuss this topic with you. Remember a teacher's job is to help you succeed.  If you fail, they fail.  Your teachers can be your biggest cheerleaders. They are the ones who will write letters of recommendations when you apply for college, scholarships, apprenticeships, internships etc.

Have Fun! You hold the keys to your success and may not realize it.   Take up an extra curricular activity after school, such as science club, audio-visual society, business club or band.  These programs are fun and filled with a wealth of information. A lot of times in these after school programs teachers make announcements pertaining to summer jobs, scholarships, and mentorship opportunities. These clubs also offer opportunities to expand your social circle with like-minded individuals. Also, after school clubs and teams usually have G.P.A. requirements which are an additional incentive to maintain your grades.

Prioritize your time. Friends, clubs and sports don't mean anything if you don't make the grades, and at the same time grades aren't everything. So what do you do?  Manage your time. Designate time for homework and study. Study in a distraction free zone.  Libraries are great for this; they have a low tolerance for noise.  This is one place where you can bring your friends and get your homework done.

Think about the future.  It is never too early to think about what kind of career you want.  Very few kids know what they want to do when they grow up, but they do know they want to do something which is better nothing.  Remember that algebra question you asked your teacher?  Take that response and visit to see details of that career. 

See your future be your future.  What can you do to make tomorrow happen sooner?  Once you find a career that interest syou, reach out to that community.  Jump on Google and search that career plus youth program.  I guarantee you, there is a youth program for whatever you are looking for.   For example, you might want to be a pilot.  Here is a link to a program that will train kids 12 and up how to fly.   

Dress for Success.  Take pride in your appearance.  If you don't invest in yourself, don't expect other people to invest in you.  Make sure your clothes are fresh and clean when you go to school.  Walk tall.  Remember to exude confidence. You don't have to wear a three piece suit and tie, but always make sure your clothes and hygiene represent the image you want to project about yourself.

Article by: Paula Wills /

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