I used to be a D student, and over my time in High School, I slowly worked myself to an A* student, and from that to one of the best universities in the world—Oxford. Over my time, I have learnt the habits of what it meant to be an unsuccessful student, and also the habits that took me to becoming one of the most successful students in my high school. Here are five tips that I would like to share with you to level up your education process.
Habit 1: Surround Yourself with Success:
I had the great privilege in high school to get to know a guy called Warren Zhu. He is currently a student at Harvard and I cannot speak highly enough about him. He is ambitious, hard working, smart, and most importantly, a good person. Over our time together, we were able to develop each other’s knowledge, push each other to the top. By surrounding yourself with highly ambitious students, you’re able to push yourself and have friendly competition between each other to try to reach new heights.
The sad reality is a lot of people have the mindset that all competition is negative. In fact, when people were asking me about my relationship with Warren, when he got into Harvard, whether I ever felt jealous of him. The only reason for that is because they have not had true friendships and true camaraderie with their friends to push each other forward. Successful people want each other to succeed and want to bring as many people as they can with them. So make sure you surround yourself with true success.
Habit 2: Keep Up with Current Affairs/ Topics:
When you’re listening to the news, it’s very easy for people to be attracted to sensational headlines of celebrity gossip. But the reality is that those are not really what is going to help you academically. If you’re staying up to date with current debates and current topics, it will help you in having conversation with other successful people.
This was something I found greatly helpful. When I got to Oxford. At first, I was surrounded with a lot of people who were great at their studies and were great academics.It was then that I realised just how much my ability to talk about current affairs and topics was to help bond with other people and how helpful it was in building those conversations.
For example, I was able to talk to economics students about macroeconomics. I was able to talk to the Math person about set theory. I was able to talk to some business people about entrepreneurship etc. So by keeping up to date with current affairs, I was able to hold discussions and in depth discussions and learn from their area of expertise, broadening my knowledge in the long term.
Habit 3: Use Time Blocks:
When I was in Oxford, I had to write two essays a week. I actually wrote my essays to a higher quality and in a shorter timeframe than when I had to write one essay a week. The reason for that is because I had a deadline.
That is why I do not use to-do lists when I am trying to be efficient. A to-do list gets rid of the psychological deadline, and says sub-consciously that by the end of the day, I just have to get task X Y and Z done. If you block off your time into chunks and say, by the end of the hour I’ll be done with my reading, each activity now has a deadline which would boost productivity.
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Habit 4: Sleep Schedule:
Some people like to tell me that someone who sleeps five hours a night would have more time to work than someone who sleeps eight hours a night. And as a result, in order to be more efficient, they should only sleep five hours, and ditch the eight hour sleep schedule.
The reality is, while that is strictly correct, the people in high school and university who only sleep five hours are often the people who spend most time doing unproductive stuff. Therefore, I would highly recommend you to set a good sleep schedule, be disciplined and follow it. Then you would realise how efficient you actually are in your work and during the day.
Habit 5: Read:
In my process of getting into Oxford, I read at least 80 books on philosophy and theology, alongside other books on history and other fields of interest. I found this greatly helpful in expanding my knowledge and helped me learn so much more about issues which I would have not known if I had not done that previously.
What I love about reading is that a book often summarises years of research and preparation put together by a single author, and as a result, reading is a great time and knowledge multiplier, making reading one of the greatest habits of a highly successful student.
On the topic of reading, I have two books on university applications coming out soon, so make sure that you stay tuned to my newsletter to keep up to date with everything that is going on on this platform and get an update about when the books will be published.
For the full video where I break down these five habits even further, make sure to go check out my most recent YouTube video: