A Better Student

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington


How can you become a better student?


You've taken an important step towards becoming a better student by asking the question since you recognize that there is a need for improvement. You've also shown wisdom. A wise person knows that there's always more to learn.

A big part of becoming a better student has to do with changing one's attitude about school. Rather than thinking of it as a chore, think of school as an opportunity to learn. It can also be helpful to think of it as a job. School is what you do, just as your parents go to work and take care of the family. Learning at school is part of a young person's very important contribution to his or her family, to the community, and even to the wider world. What's more, no one else can make the same contribution you can. We all contribute by exploring different ideas, by learning how to become responsible, analytical, thoughtful, and creative. School helps us help ourselves and the world. It's pretty eye-opening to think of school this way.

There's another truth in life -- you get out of it what you put into it. If you expect to get anything out of school, you need to put your efforts, thoughts, and energy into it, into every aspect of it! The Bible says,

…let us run with patience the race that is set before us…. (Heb. 12:1)

School is the race that's set before you. You don't prepare to lose a race. You run to win. Before you run a race, you stretch, warm up, and mentally go through the race, seeing it to the finish line. You prepare mentally and physically. Then you run the race. After the race, you cool down, analyze what you've done, and learn from your defeats and victories alike. Then you prepare for the next race. Try thinking about going through the same steps with school. Mentally prepare for school. Do your homework. Listen in class. Learn from your failures and successes. Cool down by letting each day's ideas soak into your thoughts. Prepare for the next day.

We all need to remember, too, that we are running the race "with patience." We may have to pick ourselves up a few times and start over. We may have to slow ourselves down (establish a pace that works for us) or push ourselves harder. But we have to be patient (not lazy) with ourselves. We need to be patient for the reward, knowing that unlike a race, school doesn't have just one winner. Everyone can be a winner!

So what makes a good student?

Jesus's disciples were students. The root word of "disciple" means pupil, student. What did they do? They studied, listened, asked questions when they didn't understand, and practiced. They made mistakes and learned from them. They took tremendous risks and endured persecution, attacks. They had an intense willingness to learn about God, so they committed their lives to the search and practice of truth. The first thing we all have to do is to be students of God. As we learn more about God, we learn more about what we can do as children of God. If we make the commitment to learn about God, we will reap the benefits of what God has to give us -- infinite wisdom, infinite knowledge, infinite ability, infinite love. With infinite wisdom, knowledge, ability, and love, we can be successful in anything and everything! In turn, school will become more exciting, more interesting, and more applicable to our lives.

You have a contribution to make to the world. Allow school and allow God to help you make the best contribution possible.