The American Dream is a large house, a speedy car, and financial freedom. For some, it includes a boat, a RV, and a cottage by the lake. However, another definition of success doesn’t list any of these. Success does not have anything to do with material goods but is rather tied to broader concepts.
One measure of success is how happy a person is. For some people, they might feel their happiest when they have luxurious items. However, this is not universally true and is consequently not a true measure of success. Happiness for most people is a happy and loving family. If this is someone’s definition of success, then their family is what defines their success. For some, this success might mean trying new things and a lifestyle that supports it. Success is tied in with happiness because they are both highly subjective.
Health can also be considered a defining factor in success. People feel unsuccessful if they, or someone they love, are not healthy. For instance, can father feel successful if his child is ill? This is why doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and hospitals are so important. Not only do they allow people to live longer, but they also allow people to feel successful in their life.
Finally, success can mean overcoming hardships. No one likes hard and rough times with tears and pain. Someone who has come through the pain often feels like he or she has accomplished something. An individual that has overcome an obstacle achieves a measure of success. As David Brinkley has stated, a man can be proud if he has laid “a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” The most valuable lessons can come from failures. Like Dale Carnegie said, “Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” And who could understand the meaning of success if they did not experience disappointment? Light would not exist without darkness and success would not be truly achieved without failure. But we all hope that this failure is only temporary.
People want to achieve success and make plans to reach it. However, with a narrow interpretation of success, many people have no chance of finding it. They will continue to find themselves going the wrong way, missing out on opportunities, and happy moments along the way.
- Read an example of the definition rhetorical mode.
Defining Good Students Means More Than Just Grades
Many people define good students as those who receive the best grades. While it is true that good students often earn high grades, I contend that grades are just one aspect of how we define a good student. In fact, even poor students can earn high grades sometimes, so grades are not the best indicator of a student’s quality. Rather, a good student pursues scholarship, actively participates in class, and maintains a positive, professional relationship with instructors and peers.
Good students have a passion for learning that drives them to fully understand class material rather than just worry about what grades they receive in the course. Good students are actively engaged in scholarship, which means they enjoy reading and learning about their subject matter not just because readings and assignments are required. Of course, good students will complete their homework and all assignments, and they may even continue to perform research and learn more on the subject after the course ends. In some cases, good students will pursue a subject that interests them but might not be one of their strongest academic areas, so they will not earn the highest grades. Pushing oneself to learn and try new things can be difficult, but good students will challenge themselves rather than remain at their educational comfort level for the sake of a high grade. The pursuit of scholarship and education rather than concern over grades is the hallmark of a good student.
Class participation and behavior are another aspect of the definition of a good student. Simply attending class is not enough; good students arrive punctually because they understand that tardiness disrupts the class and disrespects the professors. They might occasionally arrive a few minutes early to ask the professor questions about class materials or mentally prepare for the day’s work. Good students consistently pay attention during class discussions and take notes in lectures rather than engage in off-task behaviors, such as checking their cell phones or daydreaming. Excellent class participation requires a balance between speaking and listening, so good students will share their views when appropriate but also respect their classmates’ views when they differ from their own. It is easy to mistake quantity of class discussion comments with quality, but good students know the difference and do not try to dominate the conversation. Sometimes class participation is counted toward a student’s grade, but even without such clear rewards, good students understand how to perform and excel among their peers in the classroom.
Finally, good students maintain a positive and professional relationship with their professors. They respect their instructor’s authority in the classroom as well as the instructor’s privacy outside of the classroom. Prying into a professor’s personal life is inappropriate, but attending office hours to discuss course material is an appropriate, effective way for students to demonstrate their dedication and interest in learning. Good students go to their professor’s office during posted office hours or make an appointment if necessary. While instructors can be very busy, they are usually happy to offer guidance to students during office hours; after all, availability outside the classroom is a part of their job. Attending office hours can also help good students become memorable and stand out from the rest, particularly in lectures with hundreds enrolled. Maintaining positive, professional relationships with professors is especially important for those students who hope to attend graduate school and will need letters of recommendation in the future.
Although good grades often accompany good students, grades are not the only way to indicate what it means to be a good student. The definition of a good student means demonstrating such traits as engaging with course material, participating in class, and creating a professional relationship with professors. While every professor will have different criteria for earning an A in their course, most would agree on these characteristics for defining good students.
This is a derivative of Writing for Success by a publisher who has requested that they and the original author not receive attribution, originally released and is used under CC BY-NC-SA. This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.