Acquiring the Habits of Highly Successful Students

Acquiring the habits of highly successful students… that’s a truly important topic! We humans are innate learners, as learning is the cornerstone for survival. We must remember, abstract and apply knowledge in diverse (and often harsh) environments in order to develop into and behave as truly intelligent beings. In short, the adaptability and resilience we exhibit stems from learning. Now, a key issue to learning is the driving force behind it, i.e., the motivation or stimuli to learn. We can learn because of fear (we want to learn how to protect ourselves from danger.) We can learn just out of curiosity (our natural inquisitive behavior.) We can learn because we want to reach some social status (approval of others is a potent stimuli to learn.) We can learn simply because we love to learn new things everyday. There are plenty of reasons to learn and yours may easily be a mixture of these. Health and money are important things in life, but learning is the base for using them wisely ๐Ÿ™‚ If we are to succeed in life, we must hone our learning skills.

habits of highly successful students
Working in groups is also important

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10 Exercises for Keeping a Young Mind

Simply put, your mind needs some exercise in order to stay young and healthy. The basis for brain’s life is processing of new data and stimuli. Our minds should be regularly exposed to updated information and new experiences, in order to reach higher levels of creativity, openness, speed, and adaptation. Looking for new ways of thinking is an excellent exercise for being smarter and more sociable. Nevertheless, in the following I detail a neat list of simple exercises for keeping a young mind and improving our minds’ state:

10 Exercises for Keeping a Young Mind
10 Exercises for Keeping a Young Mind
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15 Tips to Reduce Eye Strain in the Digital Age

In the digital age it is essential to know and apply some tips to reduce eye strain or visual fatigue, and take care of our eyes as much as possible. The ubiquitous presence of screens of all sizes causes fatigue in our eyes, which results in dry eyes, painful sensation when moving our eyes, difficulty to focus, headaches, and evident decrease in productivity. Read on and find out some tips to reduce eyestrain.

Tips to reduce eye strain
Tips to reduce eye strain
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Working in Groups: 10 Keys for Success

Working in Groups
Working in Groups

In the following, I’ll briefly expand on the key points for achieving success when working in groups. As a result of the complex and dynamic nature of human interactions, you may find working in groups a challenging issue. In fact, the coordination and agreement required by groups is a research topic by itself (see, for instance, this research about the effectiveness of work groups in mathematics.) But the powerful rationale behind groups is the divide-and-conquer approach: a bigger workforce may lead to bigger results (but not always, and in some fields, such as software engineering, it may easily be the opposite.) In this respect, I’ll propose 10 aspects we should strive for when working with other people. You may find this discussion useful for the college, the office or life in general.

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How to Choose a Topic for a Thesis

How to choose a topic for a thesis or dissertation is an important issue. This post answers a question from a student (you know who you are!). It’s mostly a compilation of experience about visualization, proposal and creation of your thesis or dissertation. Some students fear (or panic) when the time of thesis arrives. I’ve even met people with the EBT (Everything But the Thesis) syndrome, but that is a very complex problem and I’m no psychologist. Please, keep reading if you are not afraid of the document we refer to as “thesis”, and you are determined to succeed. Effectively, the thesis or dissertation represents a written expression of your specialized knowledge, with an scope scarcely above that of the toughest work you fulfilled during your studies (sometimes not even that). Nothing out of the ordinary. It is a document in which you express, typically as the last requirement for the degree, your command over a concrete subject. Often, the thesis is a document of regular transcendence.

How to choose a topic for a thesis or dissertation.
How to choose a topic for a thesis or dissertation?

The problem lies in the huge load of stress students have to endure, stemming from the academic and social environments: you have to deliver a work with superlative quality (and has to distinguish you from your peers), the haste to innovation, the won (or lost) prestige, the opportunities, the castles in the air, the afterward, failure poking its head out of the window, the defense, among other factors. But sometimes, to tell the truth, it’s simply that the student has acquired no significant skill in the career’s subjects (not so unlikely as it may seem), or suffers from a traditional chronic laziness. Nevertheless, for the time being we will focus on the essence of the document. Upcoming posts (perhaps) will touch on those surrounding topics.

1. How to choose a topic for a thesis?

Let’s try to unravel the document’s mistery. Best dissertations are done by those researchers very knowledgeable about their topic and about research techniques and methodologies. They know that every study should start by investigating the studied object. In our case, we must first establish what a thesis is, and what its purpose is. Here the average student answers, with praiseworthy self-confidence, that a thesis is a document whose exclusive purpose is to achieve, finally, the degree. Bravo, it’s impossible to be clearer, but we must never forget that, in life, milestones or stages are not as important as the paths and transits between such stages. Yet, something stands out in such answer:

You have to realize that your goal is to fulfill an academic requirement

However, this by no means allows you to take a lot of liberties, or to face up to your research half-heartedly. It’s but a reason to act with humility. There are three key words for thesis’ success:

Humility, Communication and Balance

Irrespective of the importance that you confer to your investigation, at no time you should work thinking of drawing international attention to you, or dreaming of that incredibly remunerated job you will obtain, or about the avalanche of trophies and medals. If you distract your mind with this, at some time you are going to lose your concentration, and the project will just slip out of your hands. Please, remember that the thesis represents, simultaneously, discipline and learning exercises, and you must assume it like so. The composure and integrity you show while walking your paths is more important than the path itself, and than the destination. Finally, realize that a thesis is an exercise of communication. And, never give too much, never ask for too much.

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Achieving Personal Goals

Achieving personal goals.
Achieving your personal goals.

Hello, this is the first content post in You can’t stop dreaming. Here, we’ll speak about achieving personal goals. First, do you know what a goal is? According to Wikipedia’s entry:

An objective or goal is a personal or organizational desired end point in development. It is usually endeavored to be reached in finite time by setting deadlines.

And that’s it. A personal goal is that thing you really want to achieve. Normally, achieving personal goals is not an isolated thing. On the contrary, they imply several subgoals you have to reach first. In this sense, we have to define how we are going to conduct ourselves in order to reach the subgoals. Remember, it’s not only the arriving point what matters… the integrity you show while following your path is the most important fact.

Now, what are your life’s goals? Or better stated, what do you want? Money? Family? Health? Education? Fame? A superb job? Please, answer this first honestly. Reaching goals that hold personal meaning to you increases the feeling of happiness. Oh, and… where do you belong? To the material or to the spiritual type?

Now, before continuing, do you have the bases to achieve your general goals? Let’s assume you want that very-well-paid-job. Do you have the required education? No? Then you have to introduce a subgoal related to academic formation. Yes? Then, have you researched the job’s field thoroughly? Do you know the current information trends related to that job? Do you know what is the state-of-the-art in such knowledge area? Do you know who are the best representants of that job? What are the biggest companies? Now, do you have a solid contacts network? Please, start thinking, and start answering.

My own goal with this post is to flame your awareness, cognition and self-view on yourself. That’s the starting point of the journey we will be revisiting in upcoming posts.