Today, the word “success” is mostly equated with a high-earning career. As such, the key to student success is defined by their getting recruited to a prestigious workplace. Colleges and educators focus on career-oriented skills, and believe their only task is to prepare students for the global job market.
Is happiness of achievements the key to student success? How is success connected to happiness?
While it is impossible to define happiness as a sure thing, some factors influence our well-being. Emotional health and strong social relationships are on the top of the list. And what is at the bottom? Academic achievements.
Every person has their own understanding of this, but it is still hard to say a good job in the final run can be a one-size-fits-all happiness option. We cannot deny a career is an integral part of our lives. However, the key to happiness and success lies somewhere nearer a sense of meaning rather than employment.
Education And Happiness
Positive emotions are connected with well-being, while well-being is connected with happiness. An emotional state influences a student’s performance critically. It affects their social behavior, motivation, and decision-making. When learners enjoy what they do and find it meaningful, they are more likely to put more effort.
On the other hand, depression saps our energy and the ability to work efficiently.
That is why creating a positive atmosphere in the classroom and providing learners with support and help is the duty of every educator.
Of course, we cannot stay positive and happy all the time. What is more, it doesn’t make any sense — because positive emotions on an endless loop decrease the appreciation of happiness. In life, negative emotions are necessary to let us appreciate and fully feel the positive states.
Our negative emotions have a reason to exist, as scientists have proven, and it’s no good to deny them altogether. At times, a low key hum of anxiety can make students work harder. Here is a great book to understand this: The Power of Negative Emotion.
Everyone feels sad and annoyed from time to time, so students shouldn’t “censor” negative feelings. Instead, finding a balance is key.
Not only happiness lies in positive emotions but also in a sense of meaning. We need to know that our activities make sense. When students feel that their learning doesn’t have any meaning to them and their lives, it is hard for them to devote significant efforts to education.
Meaning is defined by the goals students have. When the goals are not just focused at recognition and money, but also connected with interest and passion, students achieve better results. In fact, when students are focused on the financial part only, they are more likely to face a sense of meaninglessness.
Educators should encourage students to look for something more than the future financial benefits a curriculum can bag, and orient their overall activity towards other ideas of wellbeing. When they stay aware of a sense of wholesome life satisfaction, they will be more motivated to cope with complexities of academia and life itself.
Way To Student Happiness
Social-emotional learning and mindfulness are two techniques to practice in class and individually. These methods boost emotional health and increase communicative skills. Practicing mindfulness, we learn how to interact with others without judgment, and understand them as well as ourselves just as we are.
Here’s a quick and easy guide to learn how to practice mindfulness: Mindfulness In 7 Steps
There is nothing complicated in practicing social-emotional learning and mindfulness, so both techniques can be used by teachers and by students independently. The trick is to make them a part of your everyday life and construct your decisions and activities in a new way. Start with these methods:
- When reading a book, recommend students to be attentive to the characters, their motivations and ideas, and empathize with them. Also, one should think about the author and the message she tries to express.
- When feeling frustrated and annoyed by a complicated concept or task, students are more likely to quit. A practice of mindfulness helps them focus and stay calm. All in all, while difficulties are unavoidable, they must take note they are not always tragic.
- Learn various breathing and meditation techniques to increase mindfulness and self-awareness.
Also, students facing academic difficulties should understand that asking for help is not a demonstration of their weakness. The young students mostly tend to believe if they don’t understand something, it’s a sign of their silliness. That’s just not true. Rather, one can be considered silly only when they don’t ask questions about the lesson they couldn’t get clearly.
By the way, delegating and sharing tasks when you are overwhelmed is a smart decision. It is hard to reach well-being and happiness when you are feeling alone and overloaded with tasks assignments that don’t seem to be manageable. Learn to ask for help and stop feeling ashamed when you don’t get something.
The Bane of Comfort Zone
A happy student is not the one who stays in a comfortable environment all the time. We must accept people we do not get along well will keep appearing in our life, and avoiding them is not always an option. The greatest thing you can do for your happiness and self-awareness is learning how to deal with those who challenge your social skills. Working and talking with different people, especially those quite different from you, is a great way to learn more about many social skills, as communication and forgiveness.
When students choose to operate only in groups made of comfortable and “matching” people, they simply throw the diversity factor into a trash can. Mistakes and confrontations are not problematic. Rather, they are sources of new knowledge and expanded point of view. Learning how to behave smartly in a conflict is a valuable practice, so there is no point avoiding struggles and confrontations.
Students should reflect on the situation and invent new ways of working together to make the process smoother. They need to develop their mental toolkit to deal with things when it gets harsh. Also, these tools and methods should be analyzed and revised regularly to know what works best.
A Sense of Meaning
All of us must have pondered at some point in our lives: What is the meaning of my life?
There is a meaning beneath how we think and feel, how we see ourselves and others, how we figure out our lives. But a sense of meaning cannot be achieved without reflection.
By the way, you must read this if you want to know how to find the meaning in your life.
Reflecting on your learning experience is the best way to connect it to your life and incorporate sense into this practice. Not only students learn the content and its meaning. Also, they learn how to learn and use different approaches to absorb the materials. These approaches should be recognized and analyzed.
Now, college and university are social environments, so students learn to communicate and understand each other’s needs. And, as we claimed at the beginning of the article, efficient communication and meaningful activity are the bedrock of a happy student life.
Happiness can be a blurry concept, as nobody can define it in a way that’s acceptable to all the rest.
The happy state of mind is connected with a sense of meaning and communication. Students need to know clearly what the aims and goals of their education are, and learn how to go about setting them. The answers might change from time to time, but a deeper understanding of meaning will reveal that career and financial success are not the main ingredients of happiness.
The job skills never limit our lives. In fact, if this were true, it would be a sad story of a life. Jobs, career, and education can give us a sense of meaning only when our lives are focused on something higher than material stuff and external recognition. What really matters is the way we understand how we can live our lives beyond these and feel happy for our own selves.
• • •
Authors’ Bio: Sandra Larson is a professional writer at EssayOnTime. She is fond of yoga as well as oriental spirituality and philosophy. Sandra has a blog where she shares her experience and ideas on how to achieve a healthier life.
√ If you enjoyed this, please share it on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn.
This post may contain affiliate links. Disclosure.