Tuesday, March 3

Letter To A Student - By Chithra Ann Joy

Each day comes bearing its gifts. Untie the ribbons.

- Ann Ruth Schabader

I know that your exams are approaching fast. Trust me, I know the growing anxiety and pressure level. But, my parents have done their best to guide us to excel in studies.

The principles taught and developed in us by our parents over the last years will not fit into a single book. But, let me share with you briefly few of the key principles. My only intention is to see that you succeed, and succeed well. So, dwell on these principles. Understand them and then apply them in your life.

1. The Foundation: Your foundation for any success, including in studies, is to be close to God. I am saying this because this is the truth.

The bible is very clear, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7).”

Spend time in prayer and reading the bible, everyday. Start your day with 15-30 minutes in the presence of God. Within a strong relationship, will not your heavenly Father bless your mind and studies?

2. Be positive: Do not be afraid. Fear will cripple you but a faith filled positive mindset will lead you to victory. Know God is on your side. He says, “do not be afraid … have no fear of sudden disaster for the Lord will be your confidence (Proverbs 3:24).”

Do not be afraid of your exam. There is no peak conquered without a mountain climbed. Look at your exam as an opportunity. Your mindset will affect your body, your mind & your result.

3. Have a positive view about you, your abilities and your future.

4. Have a plan: If you don’t have a plan to succeed, then you plan to fail. Plan your studies. Make a time table/plan to cover each subject before a week before exam start. Plan to go through your subjects twice. Things will be easy just before the exam and stress free. If you have not begun ahead, start today. “Good planning and hard work leads to prosperity (Proverbs 21:5).”

5. Work Hard: Develop a passion for whatever you do, including studies. Passion is important. Then, work as hard as you can. A common element behind every successful person is hard work. It is not the strongest who wins, but the diligent.

The person who coached Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli during their formative years once remarked that Kambli was definitely the more talented but Sachin was more diligent. You know where both of them are today. Proverbs 13:4 says, “Lazy people want much but get little but those who work hard will prosper and be satisfied.”

5. Focus & Discipline: No one is born with discipline, but discipline is developed. And, developing discipline is hard work. Proverbs 1:7 says, “Fools despise discipline.” Stay focused on your purpose. Your primary purpose right now is studies. Do not get sidetracked (Proverbs 4:27). Stay focused and be disciplined.

6. Have purpose filled friends: You will be what your friends are. Hang around with those kind of people who have a purpose and are going somewhere in life. If your friends are distracting you from your focus, then you need to leave them. No, you are not being selfish but you are being wise. My mom says, “Show me your friends and I will show your future.” If you don’t have good friends who motivate you towards greater heights, then seek them. “He who walks with the wise grows wise (Proverbs 13:20).”

7. Simulate teaching: The best way to learn is to teach it. Once you have gone through a portion, especially a complicated one, imagine yourself explaining the whole process or portion to an imagined audience in your mind. As you will explain the whole concept in your simulated teaching, you will understand it better and it will stay ingrained in your mind. In addition, you have played the role of a communicator as an imaginary teacher. This will improve your ability to communicate on the exam sheets.

9. Be happy: Exam time is a high tension season. You may find yourself worried, sad and even irritated. This is destructive. Being happy or not is primarily a state of mind. You can choose to be happy even if the circumstances are irritable. You may feel frustrated and even angry for silly reason. The pressure of exams does that. It is normal, but don’t let that rule you. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:1, from the Amplified, “Let us strip off everything that weight that entangles us.” You can easily get entangled with weights of frustration, worries, anxiety, laziness, hopelessness.

Proverbs 18:22 says, “A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” If you are sad and irritable this will sap your energy. Instead, choose to be happy irrespective of the circumstances. Fill yourself with happy thoughts. Also, be patient with your family members. Think positive and happy thoughts.

10. Be honest: Be honest while you study. Be honest when you give exam. Using shortcuts and dishonest means is a sure way to shame and destruction. Proverbs 9:17 says, “Stolen water is sweet … but little do they know that the dead are there.”

11. Speak faith: There is power in your words. If you keep on saying that you are weak and a failure that is exactly what you will continue to see in your life. But, if you change your words and speak words of faith then you will gradually begin to believe them and see a change in your circumstances. Proverbs 12:19 says, “People can get many good things by the words they say.” So, speak positive words. Say them aloud.

The Bible says “Let the weak say I am strong. (Joel 3:10b)” What do you do? SAY.

When do you say? When you are weak. What do you say? You’ve got to say what you want to see happening.

However, what ever you say has to be based on the Word of God. And, the Word of God promises to make you the head and not the tail. It promises to make you a blessing and not a curse. It promises to give you wisdom and make you excel in the hands of your work. Yes, speak these blessings upon yourself. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has power of life and death.” So, speak life! Speak words of faith! See yourself do well.

12. Be confident: You can limit yourselves by what you believe. Know and believe that God wants to bless you. He favors your success. It is His will that you do good in your studies and life. Know this and trust in His goodness. This will help you to be confident. Confidence will release positive strength in you, enabling you to study well. Proverbs 18:14 says “A crushed spirit who can bear. (Proverbs 18:14)” Do not be diffident and unsure. Do not fret. Be confident, and you will be able to fight your battles well.

Remember David? Though he was only a teenager, yet he approaches the giant and warrior Goliath with confidence. His confidence gives him the victory.

There is a boy named Jabez in I Chronicles 4:11. He was a son of sorrow. His mother called him “one who gives pain.” But, Jabez destined to failed changes his destiny because of his faith in God’s goodness. As a result, the story ends by telling us that God made Jabez ‘more honorable than his brothers.’ Your trust in God’s goodness excites Him and keeps you positive. So, be confident as you study and write exam.

13. Relax: Remember the famous lines, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy?’ God expects us to relax. God himself rested on the 7th day and asked man to take rest. It is godly to take rest, provided you have worked hard J So, each day, after your studies do take time off to do what you enjoy doing the most. However, a word of caution if you relax by watching TV. Be sure that you watch healthy programs. Secondly, fix a time you will be watching the TV for and maintain self-control.

14.Concentrate: Concentration is another thing you need to build. It is normal to loose concentration in the midst of studies or even in the exam hall. But, you have to force yourself to avoid being dragged away with thoughts and concentrate on what you are doing. Focus!

When you are studying, take short breaks. Take short walks during your preparation hours.

Let me quickly write a few more practical things:

Eat healthy: It is crucial that you maintain a good health. So, eat well. Do not eat less and do not eat more. Eating smaller and regular meals is advised. Some children have a tendency to overeat during studies. This will make you lethargic.

Exercise: Exercising is important to keep your body healthy and to keep your mind fresh. Go for a daily 20-40 minute walk or jog. This will freshen you up.

Contents: Be concise in your answers. Length of your answers should correspond to the marks allotted to each question. Fit in as many points, instead of writing a story script. Colour or underline the important matters. Draw the figures using colour pencils.

Read the question: “He who answers before listening (reading the question) that is his folly and shame. (Proverbs 18:13)” Make sure you answer the question.

Time and plan: In the very beginning run through the entire question paper once. Then, mark down the time you have to answer each section according to the marks allotted to it. This will help you to know how much time you have for each question in each section. Use the first 5 minutes for this planning. Then, follow the plan.

If there are any questions you do not know, do not panic. Keep this for the end. First answer the questions you know well. After answering each question, mark it so that at the end you will know the questions that are yet to be answered. Remember, you may end up scrambling for time at the end. Keep 5 minutes at the end to revise the answer sheet. Make sure that you have answered all the questions. Do not leave any unanswered. Attempt smart answer for even those questions which you do not know. And if possible try to answer them in the order given in the Question paper.

The PQR4 method derives its name from the six phases it advocates for studying a chapter in a textbook:

PREVIEW: Survey the chapter to determine the general topics being discussed. Identify the sections to be read as units.

QUESTIONS: Make up questions about each section. Often simply transforming section headings results in adequate questions.

READ: Read each section carefully, trying to answer the questions you have made up about it.

REFLECT: Reflect on the text as you are reading it. Try to understand it, to think of examples and to relate the material to your prior knowledge.

RECITE: After finishing a section, try to recall the information contained in it. Try to answer the questions you made up for the section. If you cannot recall enough, re-read the portions you had trouble remembering.

REVIEW: After you have finished the chapter, go through it mentally, recalling its main points. Again try to answer the questions you made up.

Make notes. Practice - research shows that you become genius because of practice factor not necessarily the talent factor. When you are studying, try to simulate to as close as possible to the exam room environment. It is important for brain to recall with physical cues.

This is how I used to learn and it worked for me.

As I close, I want to show you two things here: firstly, Jesus is saying these words to a bunch of terribly frightened people who are unsure of their future. Secondly, the word peace has the concept of wholeness – wholeness in health, mind, memory, emotions.

Be assured that Jesus Christ is with you during your times of anxiety and fear. Secondly, he is commanding for wholeness and peace to rest upon you and your situation. So, study with confidence. Once you have done your part, He will do His.

You are not a failure but born to win. God is interested in your success. Live it well.

Expect something good to happen to you, today!

Bibliography - Bible

By: Chithra Ann Joy

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