As students we strive to excel in learning new concepts, turning our assignments in on time and ultimately achieving high grades and scores. Would you consider yourself to be a successful student?

One could describe a successful student as being a person who has the ability to make all these things happen while engaging in classroom discussions and learning the information taught. However, being successful is an entire mindset of actions and behaviors placed into practice everyday.

To better understand how to become successful, let’s take a look at five characteristics of the unsuccessful student:

#1 – Unsuccessful students complain — a lot!

I’m sure you’ve heard the terms “glass half-empty” and “glass half-full.” What would you describe your perceptions to be? Do you look at things as half-empty by focusing on all of the negatives or do you look at things in the half-full approach by focusing on the positives? Unsuccessful people are always looking at the negative aspects of their lives. Dwelling on this negative outlook can be particularly overwhelming, especially when it becomes difficult to focus on anything else.

By learning to focus on the positive, you will quickly learn there is a solution for your problems, they are manageable and you will be able to identify ways of creating a solution immediately. Most importantly, learn to be grateful for all of the things you do have.

Be aware of who your friends are and their outlook on life. Negative people tend to associate with other negative-minded people. Negativity is a contagious way of thinking. Spend enough time around someone who thinks negatively and you may begin to catch yourself thinking in the same way. Learn to steer clear of spending too much time around those with a negative mentality, whenever possible.

#2 – Unsuccessful students blame others for their bad grades, poor attendance or missing assignments.

When you have a bad grade, who do you blame? Your instructor? Your textbook? Your roommates?

Unless you have the highest score in your class, the only one you should be blaming is yourself. Unsuccessful students find it easier to lay blame on anyone other than themselves for one simple reason — they hate to admit when they’re wrong. Admitting wrong doing would mean there was a way for them to correct the situation. For an unsuccessful person, it is difficult to find blame in anything they do and they will often shut out the thoughts and opinions of others. To be successful, you need to constantly evaluate the person you are and look for ways to improve yourself while keeping an open mind to new thoughts and ideas.


#3 – Unsuccessful students believe it is the responsibility of others to fix their lives.

Don’t like your life? Who’s fault is it?

Ask an unsuccessful person and chances are they’ll give you a long speech about the way they were raised or the child who teased them in school. It’s hard for an unsuccessful person to understand the lives of others and to realize that everybody has been through a hardship in their life.

To be a successful person, you have to realize you control your destiny and you choose the person you want to become. The only person responsible for changing your life is yourself. Don’t wait around for your parents, the perfect man or an easier class. It’s all up to you to choose the life you want and to make it happen.

#4 – Unsuccessful students procrastinate.

So you have an entire week to finish an assignment. Will you begin on it right away or will you keep pushing it off until tomorrow?

Unsuccessful students have an issue with completing assignments on time. Waiting till the very last moment won’t give you an upper edge, won’t help you finish your assignment any faster and will definitely not earn you a better grade. One of the most important processes of an assignment is the revision and editing stage. Many students who procrastinate don’t focus enough time on this step where most of the mistakes and point deductions can easily be found prior to turning the assignment in.

#5 – Unsuccessful students have a hard time setting goals.

What is your goal for the future? If you have a hard time deciding, you’ll have a hard time knowing the steps you need to get there. Unsuccessful people never get anywhere. Successful students set out an action plan with goals and steps to take to complete each tasks. Every action plan needs to have a goal. For instance, if you want to be an attorney, your grades and the classes you choose are important for selecting and getting into law school, especially if you have a specific goal in mind.

Do you have any of these characteristics of unsuccessful students? If you do, take steps to change your mindset to adopt a new way of thinking that will allow you to make the most of your college years, while being successful at both your studies and interests. By developing an action plan, setting goals and remaining positive, there is no academic goal you won’t be able to accomplish.