Attend all classes. Take notes. Ask questions. Participate.
Author Radhakrishnan Pillai tells you how you can benefit from being a student.
Photograph: Kind courtesy PTI Photo
Chanakya, the author of Arthashastra -- the Sanskrit literature on the various facets of Indian politics -- is often quoted for his wisdom and strategy.
Many of his principles are applied in politics, marketing and management even today.
In the book Chanakya in the Classroom: Life lessons for students, Radhakrishnan Pillai attempts to make Chanakya's teachings accessible to everyone.
Presenting an excerpt from the book that explains why you should be a student for life and how it can bring you success.
Irrespective of where you are studying and which course you are doing, these dos and don'ts will help you succeed in your class.
DOs FOR STUDENTS
1. Attend all classes
A student is expected to attend all classes.
The only probable reason you should not come for your class is in case of extreme emergencies.
Even when you are sick, try to attend classes as much as you can.
Your physical presence in class makes a big difference to you, your fellow students, and of course your teachers.
Your sincerity towards your studies is ensured when you have regular class attendance.
If due to any reason you have missed a class, try to make up for it by borrowing the notes of that class from other students.
This way you will be ready for the next class without any break.
2. Be on time
In fact, be there before time. Being on time is fine, but a good student makes sure he or she is seated in the class much before the teacher arrives.
Once you are seated in the class, before the lecture begins try and spend a few moments revising the notes of the previous class of the subject.
Thus when the teacher starts the new lecture, you are already in tune. And in the class your time should be fully utilised with full attention being paid to what is being taught.
Do not get distracted with other students who may not be attentive; your focus in the class matters.
3. Take notes
It is the most important activity in a student's life.
To take notes is the basic quality of a good student.
Yes, today most of us have notes and information readily available on the Internet and other sources like textbooks.
Yet, your notes are more important; and you will be able to remember them much better when you write it yourself.
Also, the teacher notices the student who takes notes.
It shows that you are highly involved in the lecture. If possible, try to take physical notes rather than on a cell phone or laptop. After all, we should not forget writing as a skill.
4. Revise -- then and there, weekly, monthly
One of the major differences between ordinary students and good students is that the latter keep revising their subjects.
Practice makes a man perfect. The more you revise the better you memorize it.
Psychologists have come to the conclusion that there should be regular revision done for one to remember anything for a long time.
Immediately after the class, review and revise the notes. Then revise again after a week and then after a month.
And finally, you will find it very easy to memorise and remember everything before the exams.
5. Ask questions
There are three types of students who ask questions.
The first are the kind who ask to impress others.
The second do it to test the knowledge of the teacher.
And the third are the kind to ask for clearing their doubts and learning more.
Be the third type -- be sincere and ask questions.
When someone is asking questions it also means the person is involved in the class.
Participate and be a part of the discussion.
Do not just sit there wondering what is happening.
6. Participate in other activities
A good student is not one who only studies.
Just studying will make you a dull and boring person -- and a book worm.
So, take regular breaks from your books and participate in various activities around.
In all schools, colleges, and universities there are many student activities.
There are clubs and associations, sports activities, debate clubs, various festivals, and more.
Try and explore as many possibilities as are open for you. You may even discover a new talent within yourself.
Remember, being active outside your studies only makes you a better student.
Just be careful that you do not get so carried away by the other activities that you forget your main purpose is to study.
There are many projects around you that require a helping hand.
Your educational institute itself may need a set of extra hands for something that they might be coming up with.
It could be some social initiative, some programme to be organised, and even your teachers may have various committees that they must be running.
Go ahead, pick an initiative and offer them a helping hand.
Being a volunteer may not give you any financial benefits; but, it will surely add to your credibility. You will be noticed as a socially aware and active student.
You may also get a certificate to acknowledge your work. And many colleges also give extra credit points and marks to students who participate in volunteer work.
8. Help other students, share notes
You may be the most brilliant student in your class, and may even stand first in it -- yet you may not be respected by your peers.
Being a good student is one thing; but being a good human being is equally important.
Therefore, do help other students around. Some may require help in the form of the notes that you have taken in class, since they themselves could not attend the class.
Others could do with your inspiring words when they are facing challenges.
Whatever you can do in whatever way, try and help other students. You never know, when you might need someone's help the most.
9. Don't complain -- be cheerful.
No one likes a gloomy and sad face. You may be sad for a while for some reason, but do not be known as a cry baby.
Do not seek sympathy from others.
Everyone in this world, including you, has some or the other problem. But people like to be surrounded by positive people.
You should try your best to stay cheerful.
Don't complain about others; and most importantly, never backbite anyone.
That does not mean you have to be goody-goody to all.
Yes, you can give feedback to others for areas of improvement and what you feel about the person. But you must learn to do it positively and in a nice manner.
10. Become a teacher -- be part of the alumni group
After you graduate from your school or college, try to stay connected with everyone there.
You can have various reasons and means to stay in touch with your friends and teachers.
One of the best ways is to join the alumni group.
If there is no alumni group, then go ahead and form one.
You can eventually also become a teacher in your alma mater.
You may not choose to be a full-time teacher, but depending on your time you can be a visiting faculty and take some guest lectures.