Identifying targets and setting targets represent the first step. We also need good habits and routine to put them into practice. Good habits refer to the practices we employ that help us be the best we can be. Practices such as timetabling or a reward system for completing work are effective in encouraging us to stay on track. The need for routine is universal. We need to remember, however, that in addition to basics like these that apply to everyone, these need to be supplemented by a range of other techniques. Different things will work for different people. Some of us rely more on an external motivation to work, while others have a strong internal drive and may require a clear structure to execute to completion. We need to experiment to find out what actually works to improve our performance in terms of process and results. Once we find what practices work for us, it's important to turn them into habits through repetition. Consistency of practice, starting our work early, and working effectively during the time at hand according to the priorities we set all enable us to create and maintain disciplined and well-tested routines. If we can do this, we are more likely to achieve the results and success we are aiming for, and we will still have the time to do the other things we enjoy in life as well.
Understanding both how you are going to be evaluated and who is evaluating you are also important. Familiarising yourself with the requirements and assessment criteria of your academic work helps you to keep track of where you are up to and what you need to do to continue to make progress. Getting to know your teachers, tutors and instructors also helps because you can build the relationships that will help you to enlist their support. Our teachers, tutors and advisors want to see us succeed. The better they know and understand you, the more your relationship with them will transform your academic progress. While we may have the tools to do what we want, sometimes we are not familiar with how to use them. Asking for help from teachers, tutors, peers and friends is an important part of academic progress. It represents the best kind of humility, the kind that admits imperfection, and it demonstrates a drive to become a better person.
We can contemplate our Academic Progress by considering the following questions:
- Do I set goals for my learning, progress and desired achievement in this course?
- Do I take every effort to ensure that I understand what the outcomes for the course are, how I will be evaluated, and what skills I need to bring and develop to be successful?
- Will I seek clarification from my teacher/instructor if I am uncertain about how I can improve in order to achieve my goals?
- Do I monitor how I am meeting my responsibilities as a student enrolled in the course, to ensure that I am keeping up and on a track for steady progress?
- Will I get to know and be known by my teachers/instructors, whenever possible, even though it is often difficult to achieve this?