Make College Work for You


4 STEPS for Student Success

4 STEPS for Student Success

By Professor Brill de Ramírez, author of Make College Work for You

There are 4 key steps for student success in high school and college. These steps are actually factors that are necessary for success in any human endeavor. Many will point out the importance of three of these, but it is the first step that is often overlooked that really is most important: Service.

This is key, for it is in service and volunteerism and selfless acts and good deeds that you will find your moorings and your bearings and your orientation in school, in work, and in your service to your community, your family, and the world.

1) Service: your commitment and outward focus

Instead of focusing primarily on yourself and what you want, if instead you focus on how you will be helping others, the world, your community, your family—then many of the greatest impediments (namely your own fears, challenges, shadows) will be behind you. When you focus on others, you turn towards them and away from yourself and self-interest. What you are looking towards is your path of service. In many ways, this commitment and outward focus is most important for it is here that you find a firm footing, a balanced vision, and a meaningful life.

Here you are answering the question: Why is what I am doing important?


Key STEPS for Student Success

  • Service
  • Talent
  • Effort
  • Passion

2) Talent and ability: your developed skill sets and knowledge

Once you know what it is that you want to do and why that is important, then you need to determine what skills, knowledge, and abilities are necessary to accomplish the specific tasks and overall endeavor. 1) Determine what you can reasonably accomplish. 2) Determine what assistance you will need from others. 3) Determine who you will work with for the successful accomplishment of your initiative.

Here you are answering the questions: How will I achieve what is to be done and with whom?

3) Effort: your discipline and work ethic

There is no short cut here. The success of any endeavor requires time and effort and the necessary discipline to do the work, even—especially—when the work is tough. That may mean finishing a term paper a week early to have time to review it carefully to spot areas for revision and editing. The tough work certainly involves planning ahead and insuring 1) that the work gets done, 2) that the work gets done well, and 3) that the work gets done in a timely fashion.

Here you are answering the question: What do I need to do and when?

4) Passion: your enthusiasm and love for what you are doing

A wise man once said that “the happiness and greatness, the rank and station, the pleasure and peace, of an individual have never consisted in his personal wealth, but rather in his excellent character, his high resolve, the breadth of his learning, and his ability to solve difficult problems.”

Your education matters. Your life matters. You matter. Bring your passion forward to all of your endeavors. Learn and love and act for the good of the world, for the good of your community. And in this way, your life will be filled with the passion and joy of a life well lived.

STEPS: Service, Talents, Effort, and Passion for Success in school, life, and work

Success in the world is contingent upon knowledge, volition, and action when the focus is outwardly oriented to service, when the necessary knowledge is there, when there is a commitment to success, when the right collaborative team comes together, and when the necessary actions are taken.

At its core, success in college and work and life is all about a meaningful life that combines knowledge, love, hard work, and the fruit of all that in good deeds. Service, Talents, Effort, and Passion --> Success!

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