It’s been about 10 years since I graduated but my student years were intense and definitely memorable for me.
And a few days ago, I took the decision that I would study again.
I’m now in my early 30s and there are two things I’ve always dreamt of studying: psychology and architecture.
However, when I was younger, I got a really good opportunity and felt like I really needed to take it. So I followed a different path.
BUT I AM A SERIOUS DREAMER and I believe that we can study again at any age.
I’m a strong advocate of LIFE-LONG LEARNING and I hope to be setting a good example of that soon.
Yet, I am sure that studying again at 30+ can be a challenge, especially when you’ve graduated such a long time ago.
What can I learn from my past experience as a student? Have I gained some insights since then that can make me a BETTER LEARNER? And what about the STUDY-LIFE-BALANCE?
Here are THE 100 GOOD HABITS you should have a look at as a student.
Improving Your Learning Skills
1. Learn how to speed read.
I’ve been willing to learn how to speed read for a while. If I get back to studies, that’s the number one skill I’d like to start building up. I think most people don’t realize HOW MUCH TIME you can save by reading quicker.
I feel a little ashamed to not have been working on that skill yet. But I do plan on taking Jim Kwik’s online class on super reading hopefully soon. I’ve watched a few of his videos and the masterclass which strongly convinced me about his skills. If you end up taking it, let me know how it was for you!
2. Improve your memory skills.
Like speed reading, A GREAT MEMORY will save you huge amounts of time. What if you did not have to start looking for your credit card to enter its number when you want to purchase something? How about knowing ALL of your PASSWORDS by heart?
And of course, for a student, MEMORY skills are crucial. Even if your studies were not too heavily relying on memory skills. It’s always necessary to remember facts in order to have a better global mental picture of a problem and figure out a solution.
But memory skills are not only good for the OBVIOUS learning advantage as a student. They can help you NETWORK better. It’s a gamechanger to remember people’s names and even background after just having a very short conversation with them.
3. Do one thing that scares you every week at least.
I feel like many students can be prone to anxiety and self-doubt. Many people build self-confidence with time and experiences.
Anxiety and self-doubt can lead us to BUILD UP unreasonable and unjustified fears.
These fears, in turn, can become HUGE MENTAL BARRIERS to do even trivial things that would be very beneficial for you.
That’s why TRAINING your ANTI-FEAR MUSCLE will have an amazing impact on you as a student.
I dare you to…:
- ask that pretty girl or handsome boy out.
- apply for your DREAM internship.
- go talk to a famous professor or professional in your field.
Build up this anti-fear muscle FOR LIFE. Eliminate all these mental glass walls that you have built and separate you from your dreams.
4. ALWAYS re-read your notes the same day, preferably before going to sleep.
The power of this HABIT is not to be underestimated. Most of the time, when a teacher goes through a new concept and does it well, we feel like we TOTALLY UNDERSTOOD IT.
But things that have been explained with ease to us MAY BE MORE DIFFICULT than we think to remember or to deeply understand.
That’s why one of the best practices you can have as a student is to GO THROUGH YOUR NOTES and the course materials AGAIN the same day. It’s probably best not to do it right after the class.
Let some time pass by before your review your notes otherwise you won’t be properly checking whether you understood it fully or not.
In my personal experience, it is BEST to do this quick review in the evening, or right before going to sleep in order to better process the information during the night.
5. Summarize everything you study.
The further I got into my career, the more it struck me how only very few people are able to SUMMARIZE information and filter out the essential learnings from it.
It’s an invaluable skill to have in life, and it’s certainly CORE if you want to study efficiently.
Make it a HABIT to summarize all of your notes once or twice. It’s better to review well-structured summarized notes than going through all of the unnecessary details every time you want to study…
6. Apply your learnings right away.
Too often, we get used to having to learn purely theoretical things. We practically have to memorize everything by heart and nothing sticks naturally.
But as a student, it’s YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to find a way to apply your knowledge as quickly as possible.
Most study plans include exercises or case studies and the like.
To make sure you really integrate the knowledge, do as many exercises or case studies as feels necessary.
7. Gather practical experience AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
To go even further, gather practical experience ASAP.
There are several reasons why you should try to do an internship or part-time job in your field of study as soon as possible.
Practical experience will…
- help you connect the dots between theoretical knowledge and real-world application.
- guide you to make better choices regarding your student path and specializations.
- be a great addition to your CV.
- signalise to a future employer that you are not just a bookworm but KNOW what working is like.
One book that I found really inspiring regarding this GOOD HABIT is Julian Hosp’s 25 inspirational and motivational stories for my Younger Self: From professional athlete to medical doctor to serial entrepreneur*.
Julian Hosp’s story is quite impressive. He became a professional kitesurfer at a young age and SIMULTANEOUSLY (and successfully) studied medicine. In this book, he explains how he was able to do it.
Besides building up great memory skilly at age 16, he also made sure to get an internship s quickly as possible in the medical field.
According to him, he would NEVER have been able to pull this off without being able to gain practical experience from the first year of study…
8. Bite-size your studies.
As a student and adult-in-the-making, you should learn how to MASTER your own schedule.
A part of this is to know how to juggle between different activities without losing track of the big picture.
And that’s going to be super important for you so that you can BITE-SIZE your study plan.
It’s important to understand that when you learn something, IT WILL SINK IN BETTER IF YOU LEARN IT BIT BY BIT.
So in fact, it’s better to learn something 30 minutes per day than to spend 3h30 on it but JUST ONCE per week.
Be sure to integrate this good HABIT into your learning routine.
9. Deconstruct major learning topics so as to understand each component fully.
That’s gonna be a really important HABIT to build as a student.
I am referring to the Feynman method.
Richard Feynman was a scientist who mastered the art to DECONSTRUCT HIGHLY COMPLEX topics.
When confronted with something that seems SO difficult that it sounds Chinese to you, try to isolate the main components of the problem or equation.
Then, spend enough time on each of those components until you have FULLY understood them. Of course, if the components themselves are yet too complex, break them down into smaller components, until you feel at ease studying again.
It appears that our brain is only able to ASSIMILATE a set number of new concepts at a time. When you are faced with a sentence or equation that includes MORE than 3 or 4 new concepts, it becomes too hard to grasp.
But by breaking things down, you can FIRST assimilate the new concepts separately, so as to be able to combine them into a NEW idea or concept as a result.
10. Write a blog about the topic of your studies.
Oh there she goes… you might say! The blogger who wants you to blog. Ain’t it funny? And what’s that got to do with studying?
Well, writing articles about what you are learning and publishing them for an audience is an EXCELLENT TRAINING to memorise and organise your thoughts about what you are currently studying.
Additionally, it’s an excellent feature to share on your CV and to any professional or personal contact that wants to know more about your skills and field.
Of course, there’s also the possibility to earn a living via your blog at the end of the day. Several famous bloggers started this way, including Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income. He was studying architecture and started his blog to be able to access his notes from anywhere.
He realised that his blog had tremendous traffic and potential after he got dismissed from his job as an architect.
11. Record your own notes with your voice and listen to them regularly.
The reading that inspired me for this GOOD STUDENT HABIT is Jim Harmer’s book Work Energy: Finish Everything You Start and Fearlessly Take On Any Goal*.
Jim Harmer is a successful online entrepreneur who started out really BROKE. He and his wife sold everything they had to be able to afford Jim’s Law Studies, while they already had a baby boy to feed.
I’m a big fan of his work at Income School and have been part of the Project 24 Community for almost a year now. If you’ve decided to follow my advice on blogging, I cannot recommend his online courses* enough to you. For full disclosure, know that this is an affiliate link, but I assure you that I wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t REALLY worth it.
Back to Jim’s story now. The funny thing about his path is that it’s NOT his Law Career that eventually got him where he is today.
As a student, Jim was lucky enough to stumble upon online information about how to build a passive income on the internet.
He got so fascinated by this that he decided to RECORD every written information he could find online about the topic and listened to it while during a boring side-job that allowed him and his family to stay afloat.
This allowed him to understand and memorize the information so much better.
He later used this information on his Photography Hobby and became insanely successful with his website.
12. Adopt a results-oriented learning style.
I’ve always been very lucky to like WRITTEN EXAMS. And I’m saying this because it means that doing mock exams, again and again, feels like fun to me.
And if you want to learn more efficiently, that’s the mindset you NEED TO ADOPT.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.
BUT practising irrelevant stuff is a loss of time, at least when it comes to grades and graduation.
Go straight to the point! What will you be asked to do on an exam?
Go ahead and try to do just that RIGHT AWAY. Don’t wait until you have “learned enough”. Just try. There’s no shame in failing, this will be our little secret 😉
That’s exactly what I did for the GMAT. I invested about 50 hours of my time to prepare for this exam. I was working as an intern back then, so I was preparing in the evening when coming back home from work. And all I did was ONE MOCK EXAM after another. It got me to a GMAT score of 730.
I did the same again to pass a Mandarin Chinese exam (HSK 3). My Chinese language basics were pretty rusty and passing HSK 3 felt like a little challenge. So I did the same and went straight to the mock exam available online. I ONLY FOCUSED ON THIS and passed the exam after about 1 month of training…
13. Start studying for exams at least one week in advance.
That’s something students REALLY struggle with, especially freshmen.
But you’ve got to start committing to your studies more seriously. Either you’re in or you’re out. You’re ALWAYS FREE to walk away from the whole thing if you want to.
But if you are going to stick to the path you’ve chosen, PLEASE prepare in advance for your exams. At least one week, but obviously MUCH MORE for very important exams.
Now, I get that it can be difficult when you’re starting. Just see where you’re at at the moment. How much in advance do you start studying for an exam?
Whatever the timeframe, try to increase it a little. If you normally start learning for an exam 2 days ahead, try to make it 3 or 4 days. And increase the preparation period progressively.
Ideally, over time, you will get into a continuous learning flow which will never stop.
This HABIT will have so many benefits for you. Not only will you have better chances of passing, but you will also be more relaxed and lower your general stress levels.
14. Clear any blocks you may have about your ability to learn something.
When you find something really hard to learn, dig deeper and ask yourself whether you have been PRIMED in some way to find it hard.
It’s Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking* that made me include this HABIT this high in the ranking.
Malcolm Gladwell gives a really striking example of what PRIMING can do to student grades.
For instance, African-American students that were asked to report their ethnicity in a questionnaire previous to an exam answered HALF AS MANY questions correctly than the control group. HALF. That’s HUGE!
So, if your school teacher or parents have been telling you that…”You’re simply NOT GOOD at something…” like mathematics or sports, this could be sticking with you subconsciously.
Sometimes, just the fact of having gathered bad grades on a topic for a while will create this belief.
If you have such a BLOCK on a topic that is required for you to be successful as a student, make it a HABIT to confront this block and “CLEAR” it. Replace it with positive affirmations. You CAN do this!
15. Try out something new that may be totally unrelated to your career path once a week.
This will reinforce your brain’s ability to be creative and make connections. I highly recommend watching Netflix’s short documentary called The Creative Brain* on this.
There are quite a lot of scientists who took their inspiration from a side hobby they took seriously. Walter Longo, for instance, made a groundbreaking discovery in cancer research and fasting. He is a passionate guitar player and definitely got inspired by his musical career in the medical field.
Focus and productivity
16. Focus on ONE thing at a time.
I would highly recommend the following two books to those of you who have a hard time focusing on just ONE THING at a time.
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results* from Gary Keller:
And Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less* from Greg McKeown:
Both books helped me out a lot when I was struggling to FOCUS on just one thing as a starting entrepreneur.
17. Learn to say NO to additional commitments when the timeframe is unrealistic.
Once you’ve decided WHAT’s the ONE THING you are going to focus on, there’s only so much time left in your schedule for other commitments.
I found that, in the past, I had the hardest time in my life when I was not staying TRUE TO MY VALUES. And one of them is to HONOUR my COMMITMENTS.
If you’re unsure, TAKE TIME TO REFLECT. Is the timeframe REALISTIC? If you plan on skipping on SLEEP to get all the things done, IT IS NOT. SAY NO.
You can read more on the topic of “saying no” in my two other articles: How to Focus on Yourself and Not Others in 3 Steps and How to Say “NO” to Additional Work.
18. Learn to say NO to good opportunities to be able to say YES to GREAT opportunities.
That’s an important lesson I got from the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less* from Greg McKeown mentioned above.
We often think we should REFUSE BAD to MEDIOCRE opportunities. But life today is such that we are often offered TONS OF GOOD OPPORTUNITIES.
It’s a luxury our brains are not used to, and it can feel really OVERWHELMING to determine which opportunities are just good and which are GREAT. But I tell you one thing: your GUTS will tell you.
If that’s not enough, then you should ask yourself the following question, as recommended by Greg McKeown:
If you DID NOT HAVE this opportunity in the first place, HOW MUCH EFFORT would you put into GETTING IT?
When something is just a good opportunity, chances are you would not be ready to give up much to obtain it if it wasn’t there already.
19. Watch out for FOMO, it’s hidden everywhere.
The Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is common among the newer generations. We’re constantly offered the world, but we don’t know how to best take it all in.
FOMO is what will cause you to say YES to TOO MANY OPPORTUNITIES.
You’re afraid to miss out if you don’t do a certain internship, if you don’t go to a certain event or if you don’t go out that night with your friends because you’re exhausted.
What if this internship was your ONE AND ONLY opportunity to immerse into a company or organisation?
What if this event turned out to be mind-blowing and you’d be able to meet and connect with incredible, inspiring leaders?
And what if TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT where you could have met the MAN or WOMAN of your life?
CALM DOWN. It’s all FOMO talking. You have a LONG life ahead and will have plenty of opportunities.
The only thing you need to do is PRESERVE YOUR SANITY and learn to SAY NO as mentioned above.
You can read more on this in my other article: Why Do We Feel Overwhelmed By Career Choices? What To Do About It?
20. Learn to prioritize your tasks.
The one thing I’d like you to focus on is to determine which tasks are really IMPORTANT and which ones are only URGENT (or just seem to be urgent).
Learn to filter and categorise tasks.
What consequences will it truly have if you do a certain task later? Or if you DON’T DO IT AT ALL?
And what IMPACT will this task truly have if you do it?
Once you’ve listed and categorised all of your tasks, I also want you to pick the NUMBER ONE TASK you should do soon or every day.
It’s very important to practise your PRIORITASITION SKILLS every week or so…
21. Stop multitasking.
You’ve already read so much on FOCUSING ON ONE THING.
But sometimes, you STILL feel like you are able to multitask. You study while watching a bit of TV or chatting with your friends on Facebook or WhatsApp…
STOP MULTITASKING. No matter if you are a man or a woman, we ARE NOT GOOD MULTITASKERS. And it’s a myth that you could potentially train this…
If you are tempted to multitask and find it really DIFFICULT to focus on just one thing, do this instead: try to focus for 10 or more minutes on your studies or task and THEN reward yourself with a few minutes of chatting or watching TV.
22. Use the Pomodoro technique.
There is an App I have absolutely fallen in love with and use almost every day for work.
It’s the app Focus Keeper which helps you implement the Pomodoro technique.
The Pomodoro technique is based on the same principle as what I mentioned above when trying to help you STOP MULTITASKING.
Normally, it’s recommended to FOCUS for about 25 MINUTES and then take a 5-minute break. Every 2 hours or so, you take a longer break of about 25 minutes.
That’s optimal for your BRAIN. And it also gives you a gentle reminder to RELAX between sessions, in order not to be frowning and sitting in a bad position all the time.
I also found it highly motivating for tasks that feel overwhelming or really annoying. 25 minutes are SHORT ENOUGH that you will give the first session a try.
But you can also customize the times, of course.
23. Listen to audiobooks while you walk, go to the gym or do the chores.
“Whaaaat? I thought I wasn’t supposed to multitask?”
Sure, but SOME TASKS that you’ve been doing FOREVER are now on autopilot. If you have a specific routine, it’s very likely you can listen to AUDIOBOOKS or to your own study recordings at the same time.
I enjoy audiobooks a lot during my walks outside or when I do boring chores like the laundry.
But even then, I’ve noticed that it’s hard for me to ACTIVELY listen to my audiobooks WHEN I am in a NEW ENVIRONMENT. If I take a walk in a new city or neighbourhood, there are so many NEW things to see that I can’t focus on the audio at the same time.
Pay attention to this and ONLY “multitask” when there is ONLY ONE TASK you need to be actively focusing. All the others should run on AUTOPILOT.
I also recommend you listen to a healthy mix of audiobooks. Don’t ONLY listen to novels OR only to complex books. It’s your free time, balance pleasure and education.
24. Keep a clean and tidy room.
Our brain is processing so many things subconsciously. If your room or home is dirty and messy, you will have a HARDER TIME TO FOCUS.
Make it a priority to have a GREAT environment to study in. For inspiration, you can check out the Marie Kondo method in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing*.
I also like the show on Netflix but there are also a lot of videos on YouTube.
25. Practice downsizing and minimalism.
When you are tidying up your place, make sure to filter EVERYTHING OUT that is not bringing a “SPARK” into your life, as Marie Kondo likes to say.
The stuff we are holding onto is always in the BACK OF OUR MIND. You will feel lighter and will also save money by letting go of unnecessary things and realising that a slightly more minimalist life is actually LIBERATING.
26. Turn off all of your notification sounds, visuals and vibrations.
About a year ago, I realised that my smartphone had become a SOURCE OF STRESS.
All of the notifications, be it through sound, visuals or vibrations, where NOT ONLY DISTRACTING ME but also giving me a sense of urgency.
I had the feeling that I needed to reply to everyone and react to everything right away.
What was supposed to BE A USEFUL TOOL FOR ME had become my PERSECUTOR.
I decided to turn off ALL NOTIFICATIONS and it was a great relief. Since then, my friends and family KNOW that’s the case and have gotten used to it. Many even agree that it’s an important thing to do, in order to be able to focus more on the NOW and REAL-LIFE people and experiences.
27. Hide the distracting apps on your smartphone.
Turning off all distracting notifications was a great step in the right direction.
But I went a bit further and decided to HIDE the most distracting apps on my phone.
On the first page and bottom bar, there are ONLY apps that I would like to use more or feel are harmless to me.
While really distracting apps are on the next page and even hidden in an APP GROUP.
28. Use a website blocker for social media and Netflix.
We all have one or several addictive platforms that are often distracting us from learning OR socialising.
If you find it too hard TO RESIST, install a website blocker and set a timeframe during which it is OK for you to watch a movie or go on social media.
I’ve used this in the past, though I must admit that I normally am quite happy with my self-control at the moment so that I’ve not been using a website blocker for a while now.
But I didn’t want to leave you hanging here, so after having done a quick research, I’d probably recommend trying out FocusMe. It seems to have good reviews and be a good one to start with.
Let me know what you think if you happen to try it out!
29. Keep an overview of your monthly tasks and learning goals.
It’s easy to get lost as a student. There’s many classes, things to learn and activities to do.
Very often, the LAST TASK mentioned by a professor will be the one we focus on. Because we are biased and what we’ve heard last is MORE VIVID in our memory.
That’s why it’s always important to keep an overview of your MONTHLY TASKS and LEARNING GOALS.
It should include both tasks that are REQUIRED as well as TASKS THAT YOU KNOW ARE IMPORTANT TO BE A SUCCESSFUL STUDENT, such as reviewing your notes regularly.
30. Always keep your calendar up-to-date and at sight.
In order to STAY REALISTIC and plan your tasks ahead for the month the best you can, it’s really important to KEEP YOUR CALENDAR UP-TO-DATE and at sight.
In the past, I helped my younger brother get his grades back up when he was in high school.
The first thing I did was to ask him what his EXAM and task SCHEDULE was. From there on, it was EASY to plan at least two or three weeks ahead. I could tell him what he should be focusing on and BITE-SIZE everything.
His grades quickly went up!
31. Always prepare your to-do list the day before.
There’s nothing HARDER FOR ME, personally than waking up and having to figure out what I need to do today.
Everything seems to FLOW, however, when I’ve planned my day the night before.
I’ve written a more extensive article on to-do lists and the best practices I would recommend. So if you’re interested in this, read it: Too many To-Do Lists: How Does this Happen & What to Do?
32. Start with the most difficult or important task in your most productive time zone.
And your most productive time of the day is MOST LIKELY the morning.
But sometimes as a student, it’s really hard to start learning right away in the morning.
That’s okay. Just observe yourself and try to figure out which time works the BEST for your IMPORTANT or DIFFICULT assignments or tasks.
Be sure to SQUEEZE the number one task of your daily to-do list into this timeframe.
Have A Healthy And Balanced Life
33. GO OUT right after waking up.
As a student, I remember spending full days at home studying OR procrastinating.
I discovered that the best thing for me was to MAKE SURE that I was going out right after waking up. Of course, brushing your teeth and taking a quick shower before leaving the house is allowed 😉
The fresh air and sunlight always felt very empowering and I had already the impression that my day would be filled with better energy.
And it somehow feels easier to go out again later in the day when you’ve already done it once.
GO OUT AND GET SOME SUN! It will also help your biorhythm…
34. Have enough QUALITY SLEEP.
As a young student, you probably benefit from incredible amounts of energy. And you think that you can go on and on forever, without any consequences.
Party – learn – party… When does it ever stop?
Other students study SO hard that they do sleepless nights because they BELIEVE they can learn more that way. Instead of sleeping…
No matter what type of student you are, I beg you, PRIORITIZE YOUR SLEEP. QUANTITY AND QUALITY are important.
Pay attention to caffeine, tobacco, alcohol… they will all impact the quality of your sleep negatively.
It’s also TOTALLY fine to have variations. If there is much going on one day or two, that’s okay. BUT make sure you CATCH UP with the sleep you need quickly…
35. Go to the library or a café to study regularly.
Whenever you face a phase of procrastination OR low-energy, it’s better to incorporate studying OUTSIDE to your routine.
Most of the time, for instance, I find it easy to work from home in the morning. But somehow, the afternoon I get MUCH MORE PRODUCTIVE when I work from a different place like a library or a café.
Changing scenery also allows your mind and brain to approach things with a FRESH PERSPECTIVE.
36. Do sports a few times a week.
During high school, my SPORTS routine was fully automatic. I had sports at school and played in a basketball team several times a week.
Since sports had always BEEN THERE, I somehow FORGOT to put in place a proper sports routine during the first two years of my studies.
After two years without doing any sports, I started playing basketball again. I WAS SO OUT OF BREATH.
And I was only 20! Not even a smoker!
That’s when I decided that staying fit HAD TO BE one of the priorities in my life.
For the rest of my studies, I decided that doing sports at least 3 to 4 times a week was a must! And it helped me so much keep a clear head and relax.
At some point, however, my basketball sessions started conflicting with my most productive time of the day, which happened to be the EVENING.
So I decided to switch and start running first thing in the morning. Even though I really HATED running. But it was SO beneficial to my health and mind that I started loving it…
37. Do breathing exercises daily.
Have you noticed your breathing patterns throughout the day?
Whenever you feel stressed or under pressure, you stop breathing or breathe very shallowly.
That’s not so great for your overall well-being and stress level.
Learn to breathe again and do exercises every day.
If you don’t know where to start, I’d recommend you check out simple breathing exercises on YouTube or even the Wim Hof Method.
38. Meditate every day.
STUDENTS need a lot of focus. They often study far away from their families and at least at times can feel lonely.
Meditation is a POWERFUL tool for students to be able to confront their daily challenges.
It’s been scientifically proven that MEDITATION improves your capacity to focus.
But meditation can ALSO help you find INNER PEACE or JOY, depending on what you need at a given moment.
It’s like a swiss knife and you will only rip the benefits of it if you PRACTICE DAILY.
39. Cook (healthy!) for yourself.
Your brain and body need HEALTHY FUEL to function at their optimal level.
And it’s hard to find REALLY healthy stuff to buy out there.
Cooking is still the best AND CHEAPEST alternative to eat healthily.
But it can be a challenge as a student. Maybe you don’t really know how to cook, as was my case as a student.
I remember buying a HUGE portion of veggies once. I cut them all and mixed them somehow, and it really tasted… BAD.
It was very discouraging. But in order to make progress, I bought a very small pocket healthy recipe book that I could carry easily to the supermarket.
This way, it was EASY to find out what I could cook and directly get ALL the required ingredients…
Another way to make progress is to get help from other students. There are certainly some that have been passionate about cooking for a while and use plenty of vegetables in the process.
Offer them to share expenses and help them cook.
40. Drink mindfully.
Student times = PARTY TIMES!
That’s true for most of us.
And that’s okay. I know that we like to lose a little control sometimes, in order to DARE to do more things.
I certainly felt that way.
But I dare you to do just one thing: OBSERVE YOURSELF when you are drinking.
- How much are you drinking and how quickly?
- How does your behaviour change?
- What about your body, how does it feel?
- How do you feel later and the next morning?
DRINK MINDFULLY. That’s going to help guide you and see what you can change or improve about the whole situation.
41. Use a blue light filter.
Most of our electronic devices emit a high amount of blue light that can be quite detrimental at night.
Especially because it messes with our biorhythm and our sleep.
We can’t fall asleep early and we have less of the DEEP SLEEP.
You can reduce some of the blue light inherently on the devices. But most of them STILL EMIT A LOT OF BLUE LIGHT.
That’s why I use Flux on my computer, which automatically takes away the blue light in the evening and does this automatically depending on my time zone.
Some also use blue light blocking glasses.
In any case, have this in mind when you are still watching stuff on your electronic devices late at night.
Don’t be surprised if you have a hard time sleeping afterwards.
42. Read something relaxing and calming at night.
My first two years of studies were kind of rough. I wasn’t sure whether I picked the right path for me. And on top of this, those studies were famous for being really difficult and tough.
Luckily, a few months in, a friend of mine who was studying literature at the time RECOMMENDED Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist, 25th Anniversary: A Fable About Following Your Dream.
I started reading this book at night and it literally BLEW MY MIND. It felt SO INSPIRING and RELAXING to read it.
The message of this book was very spiritual: no matter what happens to you in life, if you follow your HEART you will get everything you truly need.
That’s exactly what I needed to read and believe in those times of high pressure for me.
And it certainly was a great help to IMPROVE MY SLEEP.
43. Immerse into nature at least once a week.
My first two years of study were in the centre of Paris.
It’s a beautiful city and student area, for sure, BUT what struck me was the LACK of trees and proper parks where I could truly connect back with nature.
It quickly felt suffocating to me to be surrounded by so much concrete.
I grew up in the middle of the countryside and SURE WAS ABLE TO MAKE THE DIFFERENCE.
If you’ve grown up in a big city, you may shrug off and think “I’m used to this, it doesn’t affect me…”
Well, scientific studies on this topic prove you WRONG. Vegetation and even the simple presence of the green colour around you reduce your stress levels overall.
As a student, I decided to go back home regularly to be able to BREATHE again in the countryside. And I also made sure to regularly spend time or run in a small park nearby. Even though Paris’ parks are more like man-made gardens, it’s still better than nothing…
44. Drink tea instead of coffee.
I ain’t no extreme person and I DO LIKE the concept of “everything in moderation”.
But if moderation means COFFEE EVERY DAY for you, then please reconsider.
Coffee is not evil, BUT there are mixed messages as to its impact on our health.
But it certainly has negative consequences on your sleep pattern, can mess heavily with your digestion AND will cause strong headaches if you cut it out of your diet one day.
All these facts make me suspicious about COFFEE as an everyday beverage.
It’s easy to say for me, I’ve never been really addicted to coffee even though I do drink it daily over the course of a couple of weeks sometimes.
And I appreciate good coffee and its smell. I’ve even considered making coffee without drinking it, just so I can SMELL IT! XD
But I’ve got good friends who were really addicted and even DIDN’T FEEL HUMAN in the morning until they could DRINK THEIR COFFEE.
When they quit and switched to tea, they felt like they had so MUCH MORE ENERGY. And most of all, they felt like THEY HAD FULL CONTROL over their energy. They all said it was well worth the few days of headache and low energy.
Try it out!
45. Practice gratefulness every night.
Gratefulness has GREAT BENEFITS for your mental AND PHYSICAL health.
It also helps you always see the best in every situation.
That’s why I would recommend practising gratefulness every night before going to sleep.
You can either JOURNAL about or MEDITATE and visualise the 3 things you are really grateful for.
46. Practice forgiveness every day.
Forgiveness is a skill we should ALL be working on these days.
Many have a misconception about forgiveness. They think that it means allowing others to do whatever they want without consequences.
BUT THAT’S NOT TRUE. You can forgive someone but STILL hold them accountable.
YOU FORGIVE for your OWN SAKE. Forgiving makes you feel lighter and will help you navigate through life easier.
It also seems to have a physiological impact on your brain for the better.
Holding grudges is HEAVY and can be painful. FORGIVE and PUT YOUR ENERGY into something more useful.
47. Have a green plant and take care of it every day.
As mentioned earlier, NATURE is powerful and helps you decrease your stress levels and improve your health overall.
I’d strongly recommend you BRING A PIECE OF NATURE into your home and TAKE GOOD CARE OF IT.
In the past, I saw plants a little like dead objects. I didn’t really feel any connection directly. The only thing I knew was that I felt incredibly well in a beautiful natural environment.
But I was taking such BAD care of plants that even my two cactuses I got as a teenager died of not having enough water. RIP.
I’ve since then observed friends, family and flatmates. Some of them seem to see a plant almost like a lovely pet.
They feed it with the best water, they caress it and even talk to it.
And it seems to work. It’s also probably just good for yourself to be LOVING to another being.
Try it out and let me know how many plants survived 🙂
48. Drink enough water.
Our bodies are mainly made of water. And our brains certainly function BEST when we drink enough GOOD WATER during the day.
Quantities can vary from one person to another, but I’m most probably around 2,5 litres + of water per day.
Coffee and green, black or white tea DO NOT COUNT. Herbal teas, however, can be a great pick to replace your daily dose of HOT BEVERAGE for the aficionados.
49. Keep your eyes fit.
As a student, you probably spend most of your time watching your computer screen, reading or writing. It means that STUDYING CAN BE REALLY TOUGH ON YOUR EYES.
Most of us take this DEGRADATION FOR GRANTED. But actually, if you GIVE YOUR EYES A BREAK and make sure to train them regularly, you increase the chances of KEEPING A GOOD SIGHT throughout your studies.
50. Walk wherever you can instead of driving or taking the public transport system.
Convenience is the source of many issues our Western civilization is facing nowadays.
We drive or take the bus, the metro, the elevator… And we DON’T MOVE ENOUGH.
Meanwhile, the WHO recommends walking an average of about 10,000 steps a day for better health. And that should be the minimum.
But with your BUSY STUDENT SCHEDULE, you won’t get there if you don’t WALK EVERYWHERE whenever possible.
I realised how great this HABIT is when living in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The city is pretty small and you can easily walk to most places you need to within a range of 10 to 30 minutes when you live in the bigger centre.
But I was used to living in Paris for a long time, with my university being really far from home. So I automatically went for public transportation.
Until after a couple of weeks, I realised that I spent 15 minutes by metro when I could have spent about the same time walking.
I quickly figured out a cool win-win situation. WALKING would SAVE ME MONEY and at the same time increase my activity level WITHOUT putting a strain on my schedule.
Since then, walking has become my PREFERRED option. And when I move to a new place, I try to find a setting that will allow me to walk almost anywhere I need when it’s possible.
I even did this at Cornell University in Ithaca during my exchange semester as a student there. The campus was quite extensive, but it was feasible!
51. Stretch every day.
Stretching is extremely healthy and often underestimated. But it’s one of the components that makes YOGA so HEALTHY.
Of course, yoga would be a great way to incorporate this practice into your daily schedule. I highly recommend it.
BUT you don’t have to go through yoga. A regular 5 to 10 minutes stretching exercise is enough to rip the benefits.
52. Sit straight or even stand, if you can.
Sitting and standing straight is very BENEFICIAL for your body AND MIND.
In fact, when you sit or stand with a bent back, it’s not only really bad for your BACK. You also tend to be more pessimistic and to have self-doubt.
That’s one more reason why YOGA is so great. Because it trains your posture to be straight again.
But generally, when you study, it’s ALWAYS GOOD to change positions regularly. If possible, sit straight, then stand, lie down…
Taking a quote from Ben Greenfield: “The BEST position is the NEXT position”. So keep movin’.
53. Take a daily hot and cold shower in the morning.
Taking a hot and cold shower feels IMPOSSIBLE at first.
But I promise that, if you take things gradually, you can quickly get to it.
Best is to alternate 20 seconds of cold and 10 seconds of warm water for a total of five minutes.
And as mentioned already, you can start off easy with less time under cold water and not-so-cold water at first.
NO NEED FOR COFFEE anymore with that type of shower. You feel awake, present and grounded right away.
It also has a great impact on your health: your blood circulation and skin will thank you, amongst others.
54. Don’t eat in front of your computers or TV.
To the extent possible, EATING SHOULD BE DONE MINDFULLY.
Some even recommend eating alone because it allows you to focus on the food and chewing correctly.
While I would still prefer a meal with family or friends, I do have to admit that TAKING THE TIME TO FULLY APPRECIATE YOUR MEAL is essential.
You will tend to eat slower, feel satisfied quicker and chew better. All of this helps you reduce your stress levels, reduce your food intake and better process all the nutrients that are in your food.
I know it’s tempting to turn on our computers or TV in order to have background noise when we are alone as students. BUT EATING IS AN ACTIVITY. Train yourself to be fine with it and to appreciate it fully.
55. Learn to be happy in the now, with what you have.
As a student, we tend to be FULL OF DREAMS.
And in fact, WE EVEN HAVE TO BE. Because we constantly have OUR FUTURE in the back of our heads.
Any class we take, any event we go to… FEEL LIKE POTENTIAL DOORS that lead to our future dreams.
But you HAVE GOT TO LEARN TO APPRECIATE YOUR LIFE AS IT IS NOW.
If you are not, change something. Otherwise, you run the risk ALWAYS pushing your happiness BACK BEHIND YOUR GOALS.
Great ways to be happy in the now are:
- Spending times with loved ones regularly.
56. Always remember that “motion” is crucial.
As a student, we have SO MANY DOUBTS about our future career.
This, sometimes, can lead to INACTIVITY. We prefer doing NOTHING rather than doing the WRONG THING.
We’re afraid, and that can PARALYSE US.
But honestly, it’s often BEST to keep moving even if you are unsure.
Of course, short reflection times can be good as well. But don’t stay stuck for weeks or months in a row.
Whatever you do, you will learn out of it. But staying inactive could make you run in circles in your head.
57. Do intermittent fasting.
It’s hard to find a proper eating routine as a student. Your schedule can vary a lot.
But ONE thing you can do and is quite easy to put in place is to DO INTERMITTENT FASTING.
This means that you don’t eat for about at least 12-14 hours in a row, including the time you are asleep.
And the times can always vary, too. If one day you eat much later than usual, just eat your breakfast or lunch a little later the next day.
It’s good for FOCUS and also to give your belly a break so that it can process everything.
Intermittent fasting also seems to have a positive impact on your health and immune system
I recommend you use the app ZERO to start. Fasting with others is much more fun 🙂
58. Use the 5-second rule.
One of the students’ common issue is their tendency to PROCRASTINATE.
That’s okay, I’ve been there, too!
If that’s one of your core problems, be sure to read Mel Robin’s book The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage*.
Apparently, it’s our instinct that keeps us lazy and prevents us from doing new or unnecessary things.
BUT by counting DOWN from 5 to zero, we ACTIVATE the part of our brain that is more conscious and rational. And by moving we signal to our brains that we ARE GOING TO DO IT.
Try it out, but also READ Mel Robin’s book for additional motivation if needed.
Become Financially Savvy
Many students take on incredibly huge student loans to finance their education. They are unaware of common financial traps such as credit card debt with its high-interest rates.
All of this is probably caused by the lack of transparency in our society. People don’t talk about numbers openly. If someone is struggling financially, he will probably not scream it out loud.
Sometimes, students may be under the impression that their debt will clear out easily once they get a job. But salaries and perspectives often end up being disappointing.
On the other hand, young students have a FINANCIAL ADVANTAGE that none of the best investors in the world can have: THEIR YOUNG AGE.
Thanks to the power of compounding interest, SAVINGS AND INVESTMENTS made at a young age can go a much LONGER WAY.
Here are good habits that students should put in place as early as possible.
59. Track ALL of your expenses as they occur.
Lots of students haven’t had much to do with money until they start studying.
They were living at their parents’ house and only really new the cost of little extras they could buy from their small savings.
And then BOOM. You’ve got to PICK A CAREER and a HUGE CREDIT to cover for your study expenses.
When you actually still have NO NOTION whatsoever of budgeting, saving, making money…
So the first thing I would recommend is to get yourself an app such as Spendee, which I personally use myself.
Put in ALL OF YOUR RECURRING EXPENSES first. Such as your rent, your audible abo (I hope you have one!) etc.
To do this, be sure to check out all of your accounts and balances: your bank account, your credit card report, your Paypal activity…
Go a few months back just to see whether you missed out on any yearly fee. If you find any yearly fee, divide by 12 and add it to your recurring monthly expenses.
Once you’ve done all this, you’re ALL SET!
Now I’d recommend you track your spendings AS THEY OCCUR for at least a month. I still do it today, because I am currently building my business and need to pay attention to my expenses. It’s a very valuable tool to do so!
60. Read and learn about investing and diversification.
As mentioned above, you’re YOUNG and therefore have SUCH A HUGE ADVANTAGE WHEN IT COMES TO INVESTING.
Because every penny you invest well now will mean MANY MORE PENNIES in the future.
If you start investing at 20 vs. 30, you’ve won so much time and could be financially free much earlier.
I strongly recommend the following read on this topic: Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need* from Grant Sabatier.
Grant Sabatier is a millennial who DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE about finances as a student. So much so that he ended up TOTALLY BROKE at about age 25, with only $2 or so on his bank account. He had to move back into his parents’ house.
When he was studying, he HAD THE IMPRESSION that once he would get a job, MONEY WOULD NATURALLY START FLOWING IN. But it didn’t. The PAY WAS TOO LOW and the work exhausting.
When he hit his LOWEST POINT, he decided to teach himself a new skill and to channel all of his energy towards financial freedom, as quickly as possible.
He went from BROKE TO MILLIONAIRE in 5 years.
In the book, he explains how he went about it.
Even if you are not WORRIED about your finances right now, IT’S VERY IMPORTANT that you acquire financial knowledge.
Read about INVESTING AND DIVERSIFICATION. And if you have a few cents to invest, just go ahead and do it, now.
61. Check out if there are any savings or investment plans that offer favourable tax conditions.
There are TWO OBSTACLES to making good use of the power of COMPOUNDING INTEREST in order to miraculously help your money grow.
FEES and TAXES.
Nowadays, thanks to software and automation, there are many investment options that have VERY LOW FEES. Of course, I urge you to read more about this and ALWAYS ask about fees when you are investing your money.
But TAXES can also eat up a huge portion of your interests. And that’s okay, BUT you should be aware of the fact that there are OFTEN good options, ESPECIALLY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AND STUDENTS, to have tax-exempt investing options.
Wherever you live, make a quick search and start comparing investment products and programs FOR STUDENTS. Don’t miss out on easy wins.
My mom helped me out when I was younger. She helped me figure out and put some money into savings account for 4.5% interest per annum, tax-free and without fees, which lasted about 8 years.
What options do you have?
62. Even if your budget is tight, remember to treat yourself every now and then.
This sounds counterintuitive but it’s important to REMEMBER that you have enough to TREAT yourself to something special about once a month.
It can be a massage, a piece of clothes, a nice restaurant. Whatever fits within your budget but feels SPECIAL TO YOU.
It will prevent you from falling into a SCARCITY MINDSET and also increase your quality of living.
Remember to have fun
63. Take time for your passions and hobbies.
There are many ways to have fun. Socialising is often a big part of student life.
But it’s important not to forget about one’s own passions and hobbies. They create a good balance and will help you feel centred again regularly.
It’s important to keep doing activities that really suit your heart and remind you of who you truly are.
64. Play more games.
Card or board games and the like are a very good way to relax, have fun and socialise at the same time.
They’re also great training for your brain. And they can make you LAUGH a lot, which is very healthy 🙂
If you are the type of person that gets TOO INTENSE and can’t stand losing, games are also a perfect way for you to observe yourself. There’s not much at stake here. And it will train you to react more mindfully, preparing you to your later work life.
And if you’ve become such a serious student that you don’t even allow yourself to play games because this is NOT PRODUCTIVE, please reconsider. I’ve personally been in that situation.
But last year, I’ve come to realise that my ALL-PRODUCTIVE mindset was killing my creative and social side at times.
I opened myself to games again, and really enjoy them now.
65. Sing 5 minutes every day.
Singing is sometimes that comes very naturally to us. It helps us express joy, sadness, anger… in an indirect yet cathartic way.
But most of us have left singing to professionals. We feel ashamed and never even think about singing because we’re not doing it perfectly. We’re just LISTENING to other people singing, passively.
I believe this causes a lot of BLOCKS. We NATURALLY react strongly to sounds and music. Why don’t we go with our feeling and just let it out?
Make yourself a “singing playlist” with songs that feel comfortable for your voice. And SING about 5 minutes a day, you’ll feel happier. It’s a proven fact that singing has a tremendous impact on your mood and health.
66. Dance for 5 minutes daily.
Dancing belongs to the same category as singing. Except that it also bears the benefit of forcing you to move a little more.
It’s highly beneficial for your body, muscles, posture. Very often, you train and revive muscles and tissues you didn’t even know you had.
And it’s great to lighten up your mood as well.
That’s why I’d recommend dancing for at least 5 minutes a day. It’s impactful and you can do it anywhere, as long as you dare to.
It can be a great way to START your day full of energy. But it’s also the perfect activity to relax and come down after a full and stressful day studying…
67. Look for small ADVENTURES.
Seeking adventure in your daily life helps you keep a fresh perspective. You might see and find things that you’ve been looking for or highly interest you but would have OVERLOOKED otherwise.
Small adventures can be:
- exploring your campus and neighbourhood. Take routes that you don’t usually take. Check out the other side of the campus. Roam around.
- take your camera (a smartphone will do) and document your surroundings. Trying to make nice pictures will show you how UNIQUE every day and every moment is. It will make you re-discover your environment and appreciate the small adventures it contains. It could be the flora, fauna, the people, the light…
- take classes that have nothing to do with your study path. We’re often offered the possibility as a student to get an insight into other specialisations or areas of study. Take advantage. Immerse yourself into a different mindset and way of seeing things, with other people.
- be creative and create your own adventures. I have listed a few ideas towards the end of my other article: 23 Ways to Have (Proper) Fun Alone and Get You Laughing. See whether you are bold enough to try some of them out.
68. Keep going to events you love: concerts, festivals, gallery openings.
For some of you, it’s only natural to keep going to that type of events.
But some students get way TOO SERIOUS. They either FORGET that these events even exist. Or they go only go to certain with an INTENT to make connections for their career path.
Go and ENJOY. And know that when you go just for fun, that’s when the best connections happen out of the blue.
69. Take time off to spend alone and to relax.
Student life can be tough to figure out when it comes to social life. How much socialising is TOO MUCH or not enough?
We tend to jump from class to party to commitment… and it never ends.
When did you take time JUST FOR YOURSELF for the last time? To be ALONE and relax, with NO FEAR OF MISSING OUT?
Learn to do this. It’s very important that you spend time ALONE from time to time and see the benefits from it.
70. Do something creative at least once a week.
Painting, writing, photography… Whatever appeals to you most. But it’s important to stay CREATIVE and train your brain to see things differently.
Plus, there is immense satisfaction that emerges from the creative process. You get to SEE SOMETHING ACTUALLY form as a result of your thoughts and ideas. It can be a good counterbalance to the whole learning process.
Believing In Yourself
It’s important to incorporate GOOD HABITS in your daily routine that will help you keep BELIEVING in yourself and having faith in the process.
I use the Law Of Attraction every day. Although it’s sometimes presented as a spiritual practice, there is actually a good psychological basis as to why this actually works.
For instance, the Law Of Attraction is priming you for success. And it also helps you stay more focused and reduce doubts so that you can spend more time ACTING instead of overthinking.
71. Write your one-sentence DREAM down 15 times per day in the morning.
You’ll see that this is more difficult than it sounds. Finding out what your ONE dream is at the moment and formulating it in just one sentence is tough.
But something magical happens when you write it down 15 times, day after day. You STOP questioning that the dream is possible.
Instead, you START making plans and figuring out HOW you can get there.
That’s an incredible tool and a very powerful effect. Switching from DOUBTS to PLANS, from IF to HOW.
72. Create a vision board.
Making a vision board can sound childish. But images are an incredible tool to impact our subconscious.
Sometimes, the bare fact of getting used to the sight of something we desire, AS LONG AS we make it seem like it has happened, helps our brain familiarise with our dream.
A vision board can be great to motivate you. However, don’t forget to get your hands dirty and DO SOMETHING for your dreams to come true.
73. Visualise your dream life in 3 years during a short meditation, every day.
Here’s a sentence I’ve heard over and over again from Vishen Lakhiani, founder of Mindvalley: “We often overestimate what we can do in 1 year, but we UNDERESTIMATE what we can do in 3 years”.
That’s why he recommends visualising your dream life 3 YEARS FROM NOW in your daily meditation practice. It helps you DREAM BIG ENOUGH without feeling under pressure or frustrated. 3 years is enough for your dreams to come forward a lot…
I first read about the concept of self-authoring when I was doing more research bout Jordan B. Pederson’s projects. I was reading his book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos and found some of the advice inspiring.
And by the way, the first rule is to STAND STRAIGHT WITH THE SHOULDERS BACK…
But back to the topic of SELF-AUTHORING. It’s all about using the power of journaling to increase your chances of success and self-belief.
You journal about your past, your present AND YOUR FUTURE.
Jordan B. Pederson has been conducting research and found that students with a difficult background had much higher success rates during their studies and career when they were SELF-AUTHORING.
It seems like this helped them process their past and present better WHILE IMPROVING THEIR CAPACITY to ENVISION SUCCESS. It’s often DIFFICULT to believe success is possible when you have never really experienced it, either directly or indirectly through friends and family.
Well, self-authoring seems to be a good tool to give hope back to disadvantaged students.
75. Love your body no matter what.
The older we get, the more we appreciate our own body for what it is. Except for those who fear to get wrinkles, of course!
As a student, it’s important to ACTIVELY learn to love your body, progressively.
There is much pressure to look perfect. Especially for young women. But that’s not what life is all about.
And most of all, hating or not accepting your body will have many bad consequences:
- unhealthy behaviour. If you are trying to FORCE your body to look like someone else’s no matter what, you will STOP listening to your natural needs. You could develop the wrong eating habits, hurt yourself being overly active, or simply impose a lot of STRESS on your body and mind.
- charisma and social self: most of the time, it’s your mindset and HOW YOU FEEL about yourself that determines the way you are perceived by others. Have you noticed how on a bad day, people tell you that you look tired or stressed? While on the other hand, when you FEEL great about yourself, whatever the reason, you seem to SHINE and people notice? Even if you did no extra effort to LOOK better?
- losing time: I’ve done this mistake in the past. It took me years to accept and love my body as it is. In the meantime, I’ve lost an INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF HOURS looking to miracle solutions and exercising too much to compensate for bad food habits. Deep down, I knew there was NO MIRACLE solution. But I was in total denial.
Accepting your body for what it is and LOVING IT will change your life. Start working on this NOW.
76. Make yourself pretty for YOURSELF, every day.
Here’s A GOOD HABIT to build up as a student already, in order to LOVE YOUR BODY.
Make it a point to put in the effort to FEEL PRETTY for YOURSELF every day. The world will also appreciate it.
Taking a good shower, working on your posture with a yoga session, dressing well and maybe even putting on some make-up. Or sometimes, a small accessory can even make you feel pretty.
Take time to feel BEAUTIFUL. You deserve it.
77. Follow your intuition.
When we grow older, we are told to act rationally and justify every action we take.
And I totally fell for this philosophy of life. My student path was heavy in mathematics and I had to BLOCK OUT any intuitive bit of me for quite some time. Of course, working in finance for a few years didn’t make it better.
Only recently have I discovered the virtues of intuition again. Because it’s impossible to rationalise every move and decision we make without going crazy. Especially given the many opportunities we are faced with nowadays.
Also, there is more and more research being done on the power of intuition. It turns out that our brain has often subconsciously analysed a situation and figured out a problem WAY BEFORE we become conscious of it.
Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking*, which I already mentioned above, will motivate you to pay more attention to your guts feelings.
78. Practice patience.
Patience has become quite rare nowadays. We almost NEVER have to wait. Whenever we are confronted with a challenge, we can AT LEAST distract ourselves immediately. So that we don’t have to think about it.
But patience is key, and it’s a TRAIT to develop early on as a student.
We’re sometimes told that we should never wait for something and FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT to get it NOW. It’s to emulate us and, to some extent, to keep us busy.
But I think you’re better off if you recognise EARLY ON that GREAT THINGS TAKE TIME.
That’s the case both for your professional and personal life.
It takes time to…:
- build up valuable knowledge.
- become super fit.
- build good relationships.
My boyfriend could tell you a long tale about this. When we first met, he knew I was the girl he wanted for sure. But I needed more time. And he genuinely accepted to become friends, first. With NO GUARANTEE that this was going to work out. JUST PATIENCE. And it worked out pretty well for him (and for me) 🙂
But I can tell you for sure: had he been impatient and tried to push me, I would never have become his girlfriend…
79. Get to the point.
As a student, try to get to the point in a CLEARER, QUICKER way.
It’s a great skill to have in a conversation. It helps you respect other people’s time as well.
And it signalises to YOURSELF that you know what you want to say and to do.
80. Allow yourself to dream and aim high.
As long as you remember to be happy in the now, ALLOW YOURSELF TO DREAM AND AIM HIGH.
Your 3-year vision meditation practice is the perfect place to integrate this GOOD HABIT.
And it’s important to have dreams and high goals when you are younger. Just like for your finances, YOU HAVE ENOUGH TIME for all of your efforts to combine and compound into a great success.
That’s why it’s important for you to start dreaming NOW. Because it will be more difficult to change your path the more you wait.
81. Start psychotherapy or any other regular practice that will help you dive deeper and understand yourself better.
A lot of us still are under the impression that Psychotherapy is only for sick or crazy people.
Well, it’s NOT. Or better said, WE ARE ALL A LITTLE BIT SICK AND CRAZY at a certain level.
And that’s okay. But we should make it an endless quest to KNOW ourselves better. Start and see whether this deeper understanding of your past and present can help you improve your future.
And, by the way, it doesn’t need to be psychotherapy. You can also try out deeper meditation or yoga practice and other alternative healing methods. Or you can find the courage to TALK openly with your friends and family by yourself.
For most students, that’s also something new and very helpful.
Find your way of knowing yourself better, it will help you leap forward.
82. Learn to be ALONE.
Most people are AFRAID of BEING ALONE.
In my opinion, this FEAR leads to the biggest mistakes in life.
Are you going to spend the night binging on TV series because you fear lonely?
Will you meet people you don’t really like because you don’t want to spend the evening alone?
Will you stay late at the office because no one is waiting for you at home?
Or would you even marry someone for fear of ending up alone?
The fear of being lonely and also the STIGMA around spending time alone definitely haunted me as a student.
Only years later, after attending a full meditation week, did I realise THAT I CAN BE THE MASTER OF MY OWN EMOTIONS.
We are NOT DEPENDENT on others to feel joy. It’s all within us.
Once you realise this, you become SO FREE. You can decide to hang out with who you want when you want to. And you don’t need a distraction to feel better just because you are alone that night.
83. Love yourself.
LOVE YOURSELF. Every day. No matter what.
If you don’t know where to start to build this HABIT, here Kamal Ravikant’s personal story: Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It*. I highly recommend this read, it will give you good advice to start loving yourself.
If you still struggle to love yourself because this little VOICE IN YOUR HEAD tells you that you are THE WORST, please read Kristin Neff’s extensive book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself*.
84. Be more trusting and have faith in the process.
We are PRIMED to see the world with FEAR, UNCERTAINTY and DOUBT, or FUD, as some of you may know.
And there are very clear reasons WHY it is that way.
First, we have a VERY NATURAL TENDENCY to develop FEARS OF THE UNKOWN. This tendency seems to have originated from our NEED to escape dangerous or uncertain situations in order to SURVIVE in a more hostile environment with predators, deadly animals and plants or complex and difficult climate situations.
Yet, ALTHOUGH we luckily seldom have to fear for our lives, many of us KEEP HAVING STRONG FEARS AND DOUBTS. We only have shifted the focus and object of our fear.
And the MEDIA, which is a huge industry, has figured out that WE ARE MORE PRONE TO WATCH, share, react to NEWS and STORIES that REVIVE OUR SENSE OF FEAR AND DOUBT than anything else.
FEAR, UNCERTAINTY AND DOUBT are also GREAT TOOLS TO SELL YOU ANYTHING.
That’s because FEELING SAFE is one of our MOST BASIC HUMAN NEEDS.
Be AWARE of that.
One GOOD HABIT that you can develop for yourself is to CULTIVATE TRUST and FAITH in the process of life.
Life is NOT ABOUT being a straight-A student. In fact, YOU DECIDE what life is about for yourself.
Whenever something makes you DOUBT or causes you to FEAR the future, I want you to tell yourself: “I trust that this experience will make me stronger and open new doors that I could not have accessed otherwise.”
85. Know yourself sexually.
Uuuuuh. The “S” word! Finally!
We still live in a society where sex is mostly taboo. Few people talk about it openly with their parents, friends or even PARTNERS.
I believe that as a student, you should get into the habit of experimenting sexually. And you don’t necessarily need a partner to do so.
It’s good to inform yourself and practice. But you shouldn’t stop at that.
I’d recommend reading and getting familiar with different practices and preferences, and LEARNING TO TALK OPENLY with any potential partner you may have.
It can be a long learning process, but it’s definitely a topic that most students will be confronted with at some point. The experience will be so much more wonderful if you have educated yourself a little.
Social connection and Reaching out
86. Asking for help.
Some students feel like they should not ask for help. They feel like they should figure it all out by themselves.
I was one of those students. And I felt quite ashamed if I didn’t know something already.
BUT THAT’S WHY YOU ARE EVEN A STUDENT IN THE FIRST PLACE!
And let me tell you a secret. YOU NEVER STOP LEARNING.
Let’s take a medical doctor for instance. Do you think they know it all? NO. They have a very good FOUNDATION. But there are tons of things they don’t know or need to UPDATE regularly as science makes progress. Sometimes they even have to REVOKE previous knowledge that is so updated it actually could harm others.
The best professionals are those that can assess their own limits and are ABLE TO ASK FOR HELP in the form of consulting, employees or anything else.
As a student, you will THRIVE and make much quicker progress if you ASK FOR HELP.
87. Helping out other students in need.
Students are often primed for COMPETITION. But you should learn to give and receive as early as possible.
Helping out other students in need is a great way to start. It will also be a great training for you. You will better assimilate and structure your knowledge as a result.
Teaching others OR learning how to make complicated concepts easily understandable is a great skill to have.
It will hence also increase your value on the job market later on 😉
88. Practise honesty, even in tough situations.
Most of us don’t realise how many white lies we tell others and ourselves. Those white lies add up and can produce a monster.
Being 100% honest all the time is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT for most of us.
That’s why I encourage you to start with this GOOD HABIT NOW.
A first step is to observe yourself and see WHEN you lie or omit some information and WHY.
Lies can also be a GREAT SIGNAL of something that you may need to work on.
Being more honest and telling (your) truth can be TRAINED.
And although it SEEMS like it could make your life more difficult, that’s a very short-sighted view of things.
In the long run, it will save you and your loved ones tons of trouble and hassle.
89. Surround yourself with like-minded people.
We end up being very SIMILAR to the 5 people we spend most of our time with.
So it’s important to hang out with people you like or admire.
And I would ESPECIALLY recommend looking for DIVERSE PEOPLE BUT with similar VALUES.
Our personal values are MAJOR DRIVERS and MOTIVATORS. They will ultimately lead us in a certain direction.
It’s important that you surround yourself with people that have a similar or inspiring VISION of where the world should go. No matter their background, beliefs or current student path.
Otherwise, you might FORGET about your ideals and values and feel somehow disconnected…
90. Find one or several mentors in the areas where you want to make progress.
Following the same principle as mentioned above, it’s also important that you ACTIVELY LOOK FOR one or several mentors that can inspire and GUIDE YOU.
They may have achieved what you want to achieve already. Or they could be just a few steps ahead from you.
Don’t forget that BOOKS can also play the mentor role to a certain extent. I’ve read a lot of books from people I admire, and it felt sometimes like having personalised advice to my current situation.
91. Use meals as social get-togethers.
Your busy student schedule SHOULD ALWAYS ALLOW ENOUGH TIME to EAT A MEAL IN PEACE.
To make this time more valuable, you should take advantage and always eat with a friend, a group of friends OR someone you wanted to get to know anyways.
Eating together has always been a natural social behaviour. You can even go further and orchestrate some “cooking together” sessions. That way you will keep the costs low, eat healthily and be able to do a nicer meal in less time.
92. Volunteer for causes that interest you.
Via my Udemy class about CV/Resume, Cover Letter: get into the United Nations*, many students have asked me how they could SHOW their interest for the U.N. at such a young age with no experience.
Volunteering is something most students can do. It doesn’t have to be extremely time-consuming. You can do it on a weekly basis for just one or more hours. But you can also volunteer full-time for a few weeks or months.
Either way, it’s a GREAT WAY to show what you’re all about! And it’s a good possibility to be creative.
There are many organisations or projects that need help.
You can even INITIATE anything you’d like to do.
As a student, I did 6 months volunteering for a small foundation in Ecuador. I got paid about $2,5 per day which was enough for me to live at very low standards in this beautiful Latin-American country.
And I feel like this was a big help for my career. I’m sure it weighed in positively for me to get my two internships in the U.N. later on.
93. Stop blaming, start praising and thanking. Stop complaining, start acting instead.
There are a few behaviours that you should WATCH OUT for as a student.
Specifically, those behaviours that will instantly put you into A PASSIVE MINDSET, feeling powerless and NOT RESPONSIBLE for what is happening.
BLAMING and COMPLAINING are two of those behaviours.
By blaming you PUSH ANY RESPONSIBILITY and POWER away from you. And you DISCONNECT from others around you.
Someone WHO OFTEN BLAMES will find a harder time to build lasting and supporting friendships and relationships.
Instead of focusing on WHAT OTHERS are doing wrong, START FINDING ANYTHING you can PRAISE and THANK them for.
This could cause a major SHIFT in your life.
COMPLAINING is somewhat similar. But it’s more about reinforcing the idea and FEELING THAT YOU ARE POWERLESS.
I have a pretty simple rule about complaining. I’m applying it to myself AND others around me.
You’re ONLY ALLOWED TO KEEP COMPLAINING IF YOU TAKE ACTIVE STEPS TO CHANGE A SITUATION.
Complaining once is fine. Twice is ok. But if you KEEP and KEEP complaining about a situation, DO SOMETHING!
We have the luxury to be ABLE TO CHANGE our lives if we want to. It’s probably a different matter if you are living under a dictatorial regime.
So use that freedom and EITHER STOP COMPLAINING OR TAKE ACTION.
94. Become a better listener.
LISTENING has become a very rare skill. And people that don’t say much and need more time to formulate their thoughts certainly have very valuable input to give. But you will never get their input if you don’t learn to listen.
Active listening can be hard for some, especially when there are NO IMAGES or VIDEOS to make it more appealing.
Pay attention to your behaviour and whether you listen to every word a friend is telling you or not.
Make it a point to let the information sink in and to give some kind of adequate feedback when you can and it is appropriate.
But you should also learn to remain silent when needed. Not all words require a response.
95. Leave space to others in a conversation.
Now, this one goes somewhat hand in hand with the GOOD HABIT of LISTENING.
If you are the kind of person that monopolises a conversation, I beg you, LET THE OTHERS SPEAK AS WELL!!!
Everyone’s time is precious. And a conversation is meant to be an exchange. Otherwise, it’s a MONOLOGUE. And that’s mostly fun for you.
It’s also very important to learn to respect this INVISIBLE SPACE of others as a student.
Because when you get used to being the MAIN SPEAKER and taking ALL THE CONVERSATIONAL SPACE for yourself, it’s hard to correct course.
I had this weird situation happen to me when I was about 19. I had an oral exam that would determine whether I could enter into one of the top business schools in France. But it was somewhat like a personal interview.
And at some point, one member of the jury asked me a question. I DID NOT EVEN LET HER FINISH THE SENTENCE. Shame on me…
I instantly noticed that I had crossed a subtle line. I paddled back a little for the rest of the interview. That was probably a good move. Lucky to say that I got accepted and they still gave me a quite good grade.
But at that time I realised for the first time how RUDE this type of behaviour was. WHO WAS I to interrupt finish an accomplished woman’s sentence?
In fact, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO YOU ARE HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH. It’s just rude, arrogant and extremely self-centred to act this way.
Leave others conversational space, for YOURSELF to GROW.
96. Confront your fear of speeches and train on any occasion.
I’m pretty sure that most students have to give a speech or presentation in front of an audience at some point.
Some THRIVE on this. They were born to be showmen.
I always HATED this.
Oh, I had NO TROUBLE spending a couple of hours writing an exam. But oral exams, speeches, presentations… were killing me.
I’ve learned with time that I can be good at it when I’m prepared and feel knowledgeable enough about the topic.
But most of all, IT IS AN AMAZING TRAINING FOR YOU TO SPEAK UP WHEN NEEDED.
There’s always a time when one needs to BE COURAGEOUS and speak out an opinion or facts to defend a cause.
Or even just talking honestly and openly to close friends and family. It can feel awfully scary. Like going on stage and speaking in front of hundreds of people.
Getting this FEAR out of your way as a student will make your job, career, and personal life so much easier I believe.
97. Stay away from the competition mindset: only focus on IMPROVING yourself.
In one of his speeches, Jordan B. Peterson explains how THE MORE YOU GROW OLD, the LESS YOU CAN COMPARE YOUR LIFE TO THAT OF ANOTHER.
And the reason for this is that OUR STORIES become more and more complex, with so many twists, possibilities and options. Everyone builds a set of experiences and you CANNOT JUDGE another person without having lived his or her life.
It is THAT complex.
And that’s why you should through your COMPETITIVE MINDSET to the garbage. Because it most likely will bring up negative emotions that are unjustified.
Does it make sense to compare to Elon Musk just because you are the same age, studied the same and could have potentially done what he did?
Should you compare yourself to Tailor Swift just because you look pretty and know how to sing?
That’s all INSANE.
The best thing you can do is to COMPARE YOURSELF TO YOUR PAST SELF. Have you made progress? GREAT! You can tap yourself on the shoulder and keep making progress.
But please clear out ALL these negative competitive feelings: jealousy, shame, impatience, blame…
Go for SELF-GROWTH instead.
98. Interact with others in a more UNIQUE and CREATIVE way.
Life has become so boring nowadays, don’t you think?
“Hi, how are you?”
“Great, and you? What’s new?”
This well-intentioned small talk is everything BUT UNIQUE.
And, of course, sometimes we get lucky. The conversation, despite such a pale starter, still develops and we connect on a deeper level.
Our common belief is that this ONLY DEPENDS on WHICH PERSON you are interacting with.
But is that so?
I’ve experienced many situations that have shown me how complex the development of a conversation is.
For instance, having a chat with a friend with which conversations ALWAYS develop MARVELOUSLY. But that day, it felt kind of dull. Turned out we were both just really tired.
On the other hand, I got to chat with people I had known for a long time and ONE DAY, they open up, so do I, and the conversation BLOWS MY MIND.
So aren’t we MORE responsible than we think to SHAPE a conversation?
If you practice interacting with others in a more UNIQUE and CREATIVE way as a student, you have good chances to excel at it soon.
PEOPLE LOVE TO BE ENTERTAINED. So that’s a great way to CONNECT, be remembered, shape new thoughts…
Go about it in two ways:
- think about UNIQUE questions and ICEBREAKERS to ask people you don’t know.
- think about creative questions for people you already know. Some could be customized based on the knowledge you already have. But others could be OUT OF THE BLUE. Because there are probably a lot of things you are subconsciously ASSUMING about the people you know. Think about what could bring your relationship further…
99. Treat everyone the same.
It is FAIR to try to treat everyone equally. It’s probably NEVER going to be FULLY the case because our subconscious is still changing our behaviour depending on the person in front of us.
But it’s important to TRY and to keep it as a rule for life.
Treat everyone the same. Even the prettiest boy or girl on campus. Even the most famous or intimidating professor.
And even the beggar on the street. Treat him with kindness and respect. Think of him as a hidden celebrity just doing an experiment. He’s probably seen much and could teach you tons.
Be yourself. Or better said, be the person you WANT to be.
AND MOST IMPORTANT, TREAT YOURSELF WITH THE SAME RESPECT AND KINDNESS you would show your best friend.
100. If you feel ashamed about something, TALK about it.
SHAME is one of the worst emotions.
Because it SEPARATES us from others.
Because we feel like nobody can understand. We feel like we CANNOT talk about it.
SHAME is like a fear that THRIVES ON SILENCE.
The less you talk about it, the more it grows.
And that’s counterintuitive. You THINK that silence will make it go away.
You feel like you should HIDE what you’ve done or who you are.
See shame for what it is. A simple SIGN that you need to TALK.
So share the experience. You would be surprised how many people are going through the same kind of shame you are.