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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 06-Jan-06


Friday 06-Jan-06

A serious student

My daughter, who's currently doing an M.Sc. in International Management, recently reached the end of her first term. She got her mark for her first essay back this week, and it was, at 75%, a distinction. The lecturer's notes commented on her originality. In the sea of obvious answers my daughter's innovative response had gained her high marks.

Of course I'm a proud father, but I'm not surprised. She's smart and hard-working and probably the only student there who does all the pre-reading for lectures, as well as researching widely for her essays. And it's paying off, as you can see.

So what does flogging yourself like that do? Well, for a start, it gets you noticed. In a class of several hundred graduate students, she stands out like a beacon in the searchingly open questions she asks. And she doesn't accept being fobbed off with a trite or confounding answer. If the answer doesn't make sense to her, then she will say so. If the lecturer offers to discuss it with her afterwards, then she will be there. In fact she may well be there anyway to clarify more points. She's not seeking attention -- she just wants to learn, and when the lecturers realize this (and also realize that she won't let go until she understands), then she gets promoted in their eyes to that elite cadre of 'serious students' who are deserving of serious attention.

The lessons are obvious, if infrequently practiced. Be honest, especially with yourself. Don't be proud--particularly where learning is concerned. Persistence pays. If you take people seriously, then they will take you seriously.

Before long, my daughter will be out there, earning her crust. I hope that the lucky company that employs her realizes the diamond they have discovered.

Your comments

 Oh boy! I bet this will change my life forever!
Whoever the student is, I say more grease to your
elbow. I am a student in Dority International
Secondary School

-- Okorie U

Dave replies (Oct 08):
The lady in question is now COO of a generational consultancy. As I write this, she's at an international conference in Brussels, Belgium. She got a distinction overall for her M.Sc, by the way. A lot of her lecture notes are here:


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