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Discussion Club Intermediate: How to Be a Student

How to Be a Student
The typical college campus is a friendly place; but it is also a competitive environment. The education you receive there, and the attitudes you develop, will guide you for the rest of your life. Your grades will be especially important in landing your first job, or when applying to postgraduate training. To be a successful student requires certain skills; but, there are skills that can be learned.
The Basics of Being a Student
Prioritize your life: Doing well in school should be your top priority.
Study: There is no substitute.
Always attend class.
Do all of the homework and assigned reading.
Develop self-discipline.
Manage your time.
Self-Discipline Made Easy
Human beings are creatures of habit. Therefore, form a habit of doing what you reason you should do. Train yourself so there is an immediate reaction-mechanism within you:
You reason that you should do something, and thus you do it.
Other people who seem to have less difficulty with self-discipline probably have simply had more practice at it, thereby making it less difficult, because practice is what it takes.
Time Management
No matter how you slice it, there are only 24 hours in a day. Good time-management requires:
  1. Not taking on more than you can handle.
  2. Reasonably estimating the time required to perform each of the tasks at hand.
  3. Actually doing what needs to be done.
Only you can do these things. A couple of thoughts, though, that may help spur you on:
A minute now is as precious as a minute later. You can’t put time back on the clock.
If you’re not ahead of schedule, then you’re behind schedule. Because, if you try to remain right on schedule, then any mishap or misjudgment will cause you to fall behind – perhaps right at the deadline, when no recovery is possible.
Understand, and be honest with, yourself. All else follows from this.
Be both athlete and coach: Keep one eye on what you’re doing, and one eye on yourself.
Take command of, and responsibility for, yourself.
Face your insecurities head-on. Some common signs of insecurity: Asking a question to which you already know the answer; being artificially social with instructors or other students, when the real reason is to temporarily kill the pain.
Form a positive self-image; Those students who are first entering the university will probably have doubts about how well they will do. Try to do well immediately to  instill an expectation of continuing to do well. Settle for nothing less. Nevertheless, try not be restricted by your past performance and experiences, good or bad. Learn from the past, but don’t be bound by it. Seek out your weaknesses and attack them. Be realistic about your limitations; but don’t let this lead to becoming satisfied with them.
Keep in mind that your work is being graded by a human being. Thus:
  • Write legibly, orderly, and coherently.
  • Supply any commentary necessary to make it clear what you are attempting to do.
Making the grader’s job easier will more likely lead to getting the benefit of doubt when it occurs.
Don’t think that getting the right answer to a homework problem implies that you have mastered the corresponding material. All you have done is one particular problem; that does not mean you have necessarily learned how to solve all such problems (such as the ones to appear on your exams). It’s to you to view the homework problems from this wider perspective.
If available, always go over the solutions provided by the instructor, even if you did well on the assignment. He/She may demonstrate methods (perhaps more efficient) or provide useful information that you hadn’t thought of.
I. Translate from Russian into English and make up your own sentences with these words/ word combinations:
дух соперничества
устанавливать приоритеты в жизни
заданное на дом
развивать самодисциплину
механизм мгновенной реакции
под рукой, ближайший
опережать график
в крайний срок
к крайнему сроку
следить за чем-л
с поднятой головой
тем не менее
быть связанным чем-л
оценивать работу
II. Give definitions to the following phrases. Recall the sentences they were used in.
to develop attitudes
to guide for the rest of life
to require certain skills
to manage time
to contradict reasoning
to estimate on the assignment
to remain right on schedule
to instill an expectation
to seek out one’s weaknesses
to force to learn
to master the material
to do well the time required

III. Paraphrase the following sentences using the vocabulary from the article:
1. To succeed in the assignment put the tasks in order of importance.
2. Just fancy! Marge is not interested in the matter at all! –
3. Would you please look after my son for a while?
4. You are to hand in your essays on Friday.
5. I wonder if Miss Hatchinson has given marks to our examination papers?
6. Would you feel at home in a company in which everyone works hard to be more successful than the others?
7. Don’t make me enrol on that meditation course.
8. Search for your weak points and struggle with them.
9. If the handwritings of my students were clearer for me to read, it would take me less time to grade their papers.
10. Sue’s had the advantage of the first-class education.
11. To become an exchange student you must have a perfect command of a foreign language.
IV. Answer the questions:
1. What students’ problems are tackled in the passage?
2. Do you find these problems acute for our students?
3. Do you consider the advice appropriate for solving these problems?
4. How do you personally confront them?

Make up a dialog based on the article (choose the topic from the list below):
1. A freshman is discussing Prof. Hopkins and the way he presents his course with a sophomore who is eager to tell you about the lecturer.
2. You are a third-year student and you are talking to your cousin who has just entered college. You are discussing the basics of being a student.
3. You are a new teacher and today is your first day at college. You are a bit nervous and your colleague is trying to calm you down.