The unforeseen benefits of being a positive influence
BY STEPHEN GREENSMITH
Fundamentally, university is an individual struggle, so it can be very easy to lose sight of the people around us. We tend to believe our actions don’t affect others, but in reality this couldn’t be further from the truth. During exam season this is particularly relevant and therefore it is important to be a good influence by helping yourself as well as others.
The reasons to help yourself are obvious, but you may ask: ‘Why would I help my peers?’ It’s a valid question because they are your direct competition. But success isn’t just defined by good marks, and you might not realise there are a few ways in which helping others can be helping yourself.
One of these benefits is the strengthening of relationships at university. Being willing to contribute and selflessly help your peers, will build lasting friendships. The flip side of this is that they’ll help you, making your time at university easier and more enjoyable.
A more obscure benefit comes as a result of directly sharing your knowledge. Having good notes and being able to explain tough concepts will garner you respect, the flow-on effect of which will be an increase in your self- confidence.
Aside from that, presenting difficult concepts in an easily digestible manner will help your understanding. Looking into the future, intelligence and confidence are hugely important in finding employment opportunities.
You can also be a positive influence by building up the confidence of your peers. The most effective method is positive re-enforcement; if you see that your study partner is knowledgeable on a specific topic, tell them! This will increase and solidify their current knowledge as well as motivate them to work to gain your praise for other topics. Not only does giving well thought out compliments make your peers more confident, it’ll also make you a more likeable person.
Another way you can have a positive impact on your peers is by being less negative towards exams. Negative attitudes towards tests and exams spread very easily, because, psychologically speaking, negative emotions have a stronger effect than positive ones. Admittedly, it’s easier said than done, considering the often-dire situations exams put you in. Try to replace negative attitudes with something positive, but be careful not to overdo it and seem arrogant (something I struggle with). A better tactic would be to have logical reasons for being confident, so study hard!
“Be a positive influence this exam season and see how it will not only help those around you but also yourself.”