Why learning from others is the most important skill to learn at university

University is a place where people will learn many new and important lessons. Whether they are life lessons, academic lessons or lessons about how you really shouldn’t be partying the night before exams, they will all be shaped by the people who are around you. Whether you realise it or not your peers will have a massive influence on your academic career, read on to find out why.


Learning from your Lecturer

Firstly it is clear that the most important people to learn off at university are your lecturers. Your relationship with your lecturer doesn’t have to be fantastic. You don’t have to be friends, but you do have to respect what they are telling you. It is essential that you tell yourself this as soon as possible. When they are critical of your work don’t begrudge them, accept it for what it is -advice for improvement.

Learning how to take feedback in the right way is one of the most important things you could do as a student. You’re the one who is paying the tuition fees every year so you might as well let the lecturer teach you! If you resist their feedback, the only person who is going to lose out is you. Make sure to view feedback without emotion and act on their words with a clinical precision. If you do what they ask you to, you will get good grades it really is as simple as that.


Learning from your Peers

Your peers can influence your time at university massively, both positively and negatively. Depending on who you live, work and hang around with, your studies can go one of two ways. One lesson that many people fail to learn is that if you spend the majority of time around people who want to succeed, it will be a lot easier for you to succeed on a personal level. Equally if you spend most of your time around people who are happy to ‘wing it’ then it will be a lot harder for you to motivate yourself to work.



Is your friendship group the right one for you?

We aren’t suggesting cutting off all your friendships for the sake of your education. Instead, you should discover whethr spending time with certain people is having a detrimental effect on your learning. We are all human! If someone presents you with the opportunity to stay in the pub for one more beer instead of going to the library to start work on your assignment, most people would choose the beer.

You need to be strong for the sake of your work and give yourself enough time to do the work well. If you don’t, then you could potentially be producing poor work. Putting yourself in this situation also invites undue stress and anxiety into your life. Take the pressure off and get the work done before treating yourself. A lot of student stresses are self-inflicted and there is nothing worse that rushing in order to finish an assignment. Good grades come from proper organisation as much as they do writing skills.


Learning organisational skills

There will be people on your course who are naturally more organised than you, asking them how they organise themselves is a good way of understanding how you can improve your own approach to each assignment. These people are also likely to be the ones who loan the books you need out from the library extra early, so keep your eye on them!

More often than not people who are highly organised will get good marks, this is because they will be completing their essays with enough time for revisiting and revision. Worrying about encroaching deadlines whilst sat in the library the night before hand in is a sure fire way to limit the probability of getting a good grade. Get the work done early, leave the worrying to others.


Learn from the high achievers

If you know someone on your course who is consistently getting good marks, ask them how they do it. Sometimes people let pride get in the way of asking others how they manage to get the good marks. Gathering tips from people who are successful is an easy way to begin to understand what is needed to consistently produce first class work. It might be the case that the way the person works and learns is not compatible with you, but at least you will have an understanding of the amount of dedication it takes to get the marks that you want.

Learning from others also includes looking at past essay papers, whether you know the person or not. Being able to adopt a style which has brought their writer a top grade is a quick way to learn how to write first class essays. Many universities will have caches of exemplar papers which can be found either in the library or the universities’ virtual learning environment. These papers will not only have invaluable information regarding potential key sources for the piece you are writing, but will also provide you with a structural template with which to work.


Final note

Coming to realise that other people will influence how well you do, for the good and the bad if you let them, is vital for your success at university. Spend enough time with the right students, listen and take advice from the lecturers who have experience, and research and look into what you should be doing online. If you follow this advice then there is absolutely no reason as to why you shouldn’t be able to hang out with your mates every now and then. Having said that, if they haven’t followed this advice then they could well be in the library whilst you’re putting your feet up at home.

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