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4 Ways You Can Become a More Assertive Student

There are those times in a student’s life when things seem to all go wrong. Actually, this happens not just to students.

For us as students, it could be those moments of failing a course, being behind in a course, not having enough funds to purchase required texts and so on.

At such times, it becomes somewhat difficult to carry on being the “always positive” student we are supposed to be in front of friends and classmates.

In many situations, trying to look on the bright side of life appears to be very difficult, energy-consuming and somewhat pointless. It’s not really about being positive.

I think it should be more about being “assertive”. I think that being assertive – being confident that every problem can be tackled – rather than just being positive – identifying what’s good in the situation – is a better approach to any tough situation.

Seriously! What’s the difference between being positive and being assertive?

What is the difference between being positive and being assertive? Let me try to answer that question in a simple way.

Whenever a “positive” individual is faced with the worst situation life can bring, the person will ask a question similar to this: “What is good about this?” – trying to find the good in the ugly, however hard that may be.

However, the “assertive” person will ask a different question, something more like this: “What can I make of this situation NOW?”- With a confidence that any bad situation can be reconciled into a good one.

Being an assertive student really has nothing to do with being always smiling away you sorrows like they don’t exist.

It’s simply another way of thinking with focus and emphasis laid on available resources and their most creative use.

Assertiveness is an approach we all as students can adopt when faced with any kind of problem – be it ours or someone else’s.

Practically speaking, therefore, the assertive mindset is composed of tackling problems, setbacks, tensions and possible failures in the light of the following four ideologies:

1. Your strengths can only be effective when utilized for the things you are capable of changing.

In order for you to make effective use of your strengths, you need some real leverage. What are those areas where you possess no ability to maneuver so that can avoid wasting your energy on them?

You need to ask yourself what areas you have the most influence over, what different options are available to you, and which are most likely to get you out of the existing gridlock.

2.  It is your strengths that will aid you in finding a possible route out of the impasse, not your weaknesses.

In that situation and at that particular moment, what are your main strengths, your qualities, and what are the resources of any kind available that you can draw on to seek and explore the possible solutions?

You need to ask yourself where you can find additional resources: information, support, and so on. It’s your strengths and available resources that will determine how well you can solve the problem but, trust me, the situation can be resolved.

3.  Your future is indeed full of great opportunities to come that you may not be cognizant of today’s problems.

What do you think you can learn from this situation that might be useful someday? What can you do right now to try and turn the situation to your advantage?

You need to ascertain what needs to change so that the situation turns out well for you again should such problem arise in the future?

4.  Whatever the problem may be, there is always some way out, and an applicable solution can be found.

How to Become a More Assertive Student

What do you think can happen so that you feel the situation is improving, even partly? Why not try out an unusual solution, however partial, however imperfect, and however temporary? Has anyone around you, or anyone that you know, ever successfully resolved this kind of problem? How?

You need to ascertain what needs to change in the context of the situation to make it turn out well for you?

The points mentioned above are just a few preliminary points – there are much more questions that can help you stay assertive and confident of possibilities in a difficult situation.

Now it’s up to you to find those ones for yourself… and then, ensure you share them with others!

The table drawn below is a simple analogy to the procedure I use to tackle my problems in school and I really think you will find you will find this procedure helpful.

Difficult Situation
My Strengths
Available Resources
Applicable solution
Inability to understand the lectures or what was taught in class
Persistence, people skills (strengths related to the problem)
Time and some money
Persist in trying to read and understand the lecture notes, if unsuccessful after putting in considerable time, offer a classmate who followed the lecture a meal to explain to me
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© 2015. Courtesy: Nigerian Scholars

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