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Opinion: Defining academic success

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Defining academic success is not as easy as it seems because everyone’s path is different. There are many factors that influence a person’s definition of academic success, such as grades, academic achievements, or a great ability to focus. Perhaps the definition of what academic success means to an individual changes during the years of their educational journey as they approach graduation. In my experience, when I first enrolled at MacEwan University, my main aim was to achieve high grades because it showed that I was learning the course material to the standards of the professors. Yet as I was entering my third year at MacEwan University, I found that achieving high grades was the only important aspect that I valued  over all the others. That is when I realized  I was only learning and studying the course material to pass the final exam and forgetting what I had learned after the class was over. This is a very easy habit to pick up, but I found that it is a very hard one to let go of. That is when I noticed that my definition of academic success was changing and that I now value the topics that I have learned and am able to apply what I have learned to my day-to-day life along with my future career. 

I had also asked a few students around MacEwan University how they define academic success. A student spoke about the importance of being able to understand what is being taught to them; they said that for them, this aspect makes the class worth taking because it will give them the knowledge that they can use in the future; he said, “success to me is not only getter a decent mark, A’s are nice but as long as I’m doing pretty well I’m okay with that, but also that I’m actually learning and absorbing the content.”. Another student spoke about the importance of finding a well-paying and rewarding job in their field of study so that they are able to be financially stable in their life. One student pointed out the significance of personal goals that a student sets for themselves she said, “I think as long as you achieve personal goals that’s what academic success is. Taking courses that interest you, doing well by personal standards, and enjoying the university experience.” I believe this is an interesting take because, in most cases, we strive for goals that were set for us by someone else. This set of goals made for yourself to strive for is a lot more personalized because we all know our strengths and weaknesses; therefore, we are able to set much more realistic goals. I am not the best in subjects that primarily deal with math, which is why I will set a more realistic goal in regard to marks. 

Essentially, every person defines academic success differently because it can mean something different to each student. We all face life in our way and hold diverse values, and just because your academic success is unlike others doesn’t mean it is wrong, it is just unique

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