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I was once a student – I am still a student, and will ever be, because I learn always and from everything I see. In my opinion, everyone is a student because one way or the other, we all learn or are supposed to learn. Learning isn’t only confined to the classroom – life itself is a teacher – only babies don’t realise that, but unfortunately, some so called adults are actually babies. The way they make their decisions, and the way they take actions coupled with their reactions to stimuli is pathetically penultimate to jejune mentality. Without further ado, let me dive straight into what makes a bad student.

1. A bad student hates the teacher: you may not like the subject, but never hate the teacher even if there are multiple reasons to. I must be honest, some teachers don’t deserve being liked for so many different reasons, but the moment you hate them, your passion for the subject will take a deep. As a secondary school student, I hated my French teacher. God knows, it was my worst subject – I never passed it.

2. A bad student blames the teacher: sometimes, you may not hate the teacher but end up blaming him when you fail, which I consider irresponsible.

I remember when I started life as a professional person – I was a teacher, but the pay was abysmal, and because in my country then, the main industries that offered you good pay were the banks and oil companies, most people wanted to study accounting. Coming from a biochemistry background was very challenging, so most of us decided to reposition. To do so, I registered to start a foundation course in professional accounting, and take the exams. We had an economics lecturer who was very friendly but an incompetent teacher. He would come to class drunk, and he taught us what should be taught to first year secondary school students in economics. None of us complained. We were all adults. We were all professionals. We were all degree holders.

I later decided that becoming a qualified accountant wasn’t for me, so I dropped out. None of those who took the exams passed economics, and they all blamed the lecturer. We had the opportunity to correct the situation by making a complaint to the management of the institution, but we didn’t. If we didn’t, we had no moral right to blame the lecturer. Stop blaming the teacher – take responsibilities.

3. A bad student is defensive: I don’t mind a person getting it wrong – we all do sometimes. I don’t mind a person failing – somehow, sometime, we have all failed. What I dislike is being defensive for your misdemeanour. If you have failed, show some good attitude, accept the fact that you failed, take responsibilities, make corrections, and try again. When you defend failures, you will fail again – people who keep failing are excuse makers and defensive people. There’s always a reason or reasons for failing, but don’t give it a credit – don’t glorify failures.

4. Some bad students are lazy: heaven knows, some students are extraordinarily lazy – physical and mental laziness. To a lazy student, learning isn’t development – it is a stress. As a little child, going back to school after a holiday used to annoy me so much. In my little head, I would curse those who introduced schooling into the world – that’s exactly how some adults think. Rather than see the relevance of learning, they see the pains without ever considering its immense benefits.

5. Some bad students are inflexible: I learnt how to drive in my country before relocating to the UK, and in learning, I picked up some bad habits. When I registered to be instructed on driving in the UK, the bad habits were the first to show up. At first, I was so rigid on the negative stuffs I had picked up – it was tough learning the good stuffs. To learn, I had to unlearn my bad habits. Till date, I still struggle with just a little bit of it, but most times, my subconscious reminds me that it’s wrong. Being flexible is key to learning.

6. A bad student procrastinates: some students are not lazy, they don’t hate or blame the teacher, they make no excuses or aren’t defensive, but they don’t take actions on time, and because of that, their performances end up being mediocre in terms of the results. It hurts to see very bright people get average results because of delayed actions. Besides the conventional tests or exams, if you don’t wake up early to take care of your life, what you will get will be a mediocre life.

7. A bad student does not do research: good students don’t just rely on what was given in the class, they do their own researches to get more information. These days, there are so much information out there because of digital technology. There’s virtually no information you can’t find on YouTube. We have other learning platforms like Lynda, Udemy, Teachable, WizIQ, Ruzuku, Educadium, LearnWorlds, Thinkific, Academy of Mine, and the one my children make use of, Exemplar. You have no excuse relying on just one source of knowledge when there are multiples of them. Do your research – stop depending on a single channel.

8. Some bad students lack social skills: some students are timid, they are shy to ask questions – some are even too proud to ask  what they don’t  understand. Recently, my wife told me that one of her sister-in-laws has never been unemployed because of her good social skills, in spite of many of her mates that couldn’t find jobs when they left school. She knew and still knows how to ask questions on what she needs, and she does it in such a polite and friendly manner. To be a good student, you must step out of your shell – ask your teachers, mentors, mates, friends, what you don’t understand – you will get more information and become better if you do.

9. A bad student never pays attention to details: when some people are learning, or are supposed to be learning, their minds travel far away from the classroom or the environments they are. Some only hear the introduction – every other information is blank – they can’t pay attention to the details of the information. Same thing happens when some people are reading – when they get to the most important bits, that’s when they either sleep off or get distracted. To some, they come up with continual irrelevant questions when they should pay attention to details.

10. Some bad students are mad: I had a classmate in the university whose first name was Tony – he was the oldest person in the class – as at then, he was already a father when some of us were just 20, 21 years old.

Anyone who has taken a course in biochemistry or studied it knows that the discipline is full of what we call structures. Biochemical structures are molecular structures and dynamics of biological macromolecules such as proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acid, and much more. And in answering most biochemistry questions, you must include the structures, otherwise, you’re merely writing history, and you will fail. Structures are terribly difficult to put into the head especially the cyclical and aromatic ones. Tony, the oldest man in the class, who should be more sensible, will write long baseless stories with no single structure in his answers. How can you answer questions on genetic engineering or fatty acid biosynthesis without drawing the structures? As a biochemist or to someone that’s a student of biochemistry, it’s madness. Every semester, he also kept getting mad results.

Any body of knowledge has its rules, and if you don’t follow it, you’re mad. We obviously have mad students!

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Ken is a leadership Motivation, Strategy and Personal Development Writer, Blogger and Speaker. He writes for a number of magazines and blogs. He is also a mentor and published author of several books.

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