The Study Dude—Twelve Traits of Highly Successful Students

The Study Dude—Twelve Traits of Highly Successful Students

Have you ever noticed we’re all missing a piece when it comes to success? The overachiever may lack close friendships.  Or the overachiever with friends may wind up chronically ill.  Or the genius may put in next-to-no study time and fall miserably behind.

We’ve all got weaknesses.  The key is to overcome them.  That’s what movie heroes aim to do.  And that’s what highly successful students do.

With that said, here are the 12 traits of highly successful students, as listed in a book by professors Kaarina Määttä and Satu Uusiautti called The Psychology of Study Success in Universities:

Trait 1: “Self-confidence and self-respect:

I will survive, and I can do it” (32%).

One thing I love about today is that I can discount all of yesterday’s failures.  I simply wash away any feeling of inadequacy and move forward, stronger.

I believe we can train our minds to focus on only goodness.  We can do this by replacing thoughts of negativity with the opposite thought.  A Navy Seal video says never let a negative thought complete itself.

By training our minds (by vigilantly guarding against negativity), we stand to gain self-respect.  And self-respect brightens any future.

Trait 2: “The decision to start studies and to continue them:

I roll up my sleeves and start working” (32%).

A Navy Seal video said persistence beats motivation any day.  Motivation is fleeting; persistence is steady.  I read that studying a little every day works better than studying a lot a couple times a week.  The best bet, though, is to study a lot every day.

If you’ve got persistence, you’ve nailed academic success.

Trait 3: “Appreciation of the privilege of being able to study:

I am granted with the privilege to study a master’s degree” (33%).

I’ve noticed some students boast about their studies.  Rightfully so!  Education helps us grow intellectually and emotionally.

Academic pride tastes sweetest when we’ve come from underprivileged backgrounds.  No matter our background, appreciation helps us plow through hardships.

Appreciate your privilege and go far academically.

Trait 4: “Courage:

I enter the new world with a positive and open-minded curiosity” (33%).

Curious people end up at universities.  The more curiosity we bring to our studies, the more we’ll enjoy what we learn and the less stressed we’ll be.

And psychology books suggest courage is a great stress-buster.

Trait 5: “Patience:

I tolerate it that sometimes studies go on easily, sometimes they tangle, and there is no free ride to a master’s degree” (33%).

The less we fight the grind, the more we can endure.  After all, around every brick wall awaits a ray of sunshine.

Trait 6: “Enthusiasm:

I can do something new and significant” (33%).

To keep up our enthusiasm, we could study for thirty minutes, then enjoy a ten-minute break.  For instance, I watch ten-minute graphic design tutorials for breaks.  If I study for 45-minutes straight, my enthusiasm wanes, so I keep my study time to thirty.

You might find your enthusiasm stays high for a full hour.  Whatever works for you is best.

You’ll go furthest with enthusiasm.

Trait 7: “Tolerance of insecurity and criticism:

Nothing great can be achieved easily.  Uncertainty and even disappointments are part of study processes that aim at great achievements” (33%).

Criticism offers the best growth opportunities.  In relationships, criticisms we get from loved ones help us know what hot buttons not to push.  In studies, criticisms help us hone an edge and better our weaknesses.

Growth comes from criticisms.

Trait 8: “Good reading and writing skills:

I develop as a writer by writing and as a reader by reading” (34%).

If you think you don’t have the skills for top grades, consider this: When I enrolled in English 30, my mentor said I could barely spell my name.  And I read maybe two books the prior decade.  Luckily, my English teacher assigned a grammar book.  The book shot my final grade to the top of that class.  If I can do it, what many more moons might you leap?

Bone up on reading and writing—and score!

Trait 9: “Normalizing overwhelming expectations:

Learning new is based on the previously learned” (34%).

A wise soul says a person is never caught up with studies.  But the more effort we give, the better we adapt.  And the more effort we give, the better foundation we carve for higher-level courses.

Overwhelmed is our new normal.

Trait 10: “Good scheduling:

I set numeric goals and a plan of progress to my studies” (34%).

The first task for any course is to skim the scope of the material, just to get a sense of what’s expected.  The next step is to spend time revisiting the course outline.  After that, it’s wise to divide the total time you have by the number of units, allowing for weeks to prep for the final exam.

I’ve learned to start on an assignment day one it’s been assigned.

Scheduling makes our year.

Trait 11: “Taking care of one’s well-being:

I enjoy what life offers.  Student life should include hobbies and relaxing free time that support coping with studies…” (34%).

Exercise offers a great booster of well-being, but so do meditation and spiritual time.  A blend of all three brings a wonderful stress-buster.  Oh, savor these mental releases, whether it’s time in a church, mosque, or temple, or in a gym.

Treat your body and mind better than you treat your prized possessions.

Trait 12: “Good social relationships:

I take care of my family relationships and friendships” (34%).

I met a woman who gained a ton of weight.  “I’m married.  I don’t have to work at it anymore,” she said.  She honed the wrong mindset.  I’ve learned we need to put in as much effort into our relationships as we give a full-time job or full-time studies.  At the very least, muster up nothing but unconditional love, no matter what our loved ones say or do.

And if we don’t have much time for loved ones, at least make those moments together shine with positivity.

If we’ve got a smile, we’ve got the grounds for great relationships.

Those twelve traits of student success exist in all of us.  Lure them out, one-by-one, and, oh my goodness, you could nail a PhD.


Määttä, Kaarina, &  Uusiautti, Satu.  (2018).  The Psychology of Study Success in Universities.  London: Routledge.

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