Five Effective Tips for Character Development in College Students
“True education does not consist merely in the acquiring of a few facts of science, history, literature, or art, but in the development of character.” ― David O. McKay
Character defines the combination of qualities or attributes of an individual.
Character traits are the collection of these qualities, beliefs, thoughts, moral values, and choices that a student develops over the course of his or her life. These traits determine a person’s overall character.
Students develop these traits from their experiences, environment, and people they spend most of the time with, like their parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers, and friends.
College life is a transition from adolescence to adulthood where they grow into independent educated individuals responsible for their own decisions, face challenges, and make themselves ready for a new chapter in life.
For many students, this is a crucial phase where they are worried about their academic grades and social image. While they prepare for their new life, they learn and unlearn values, practice productive and critical thinking, focus more on social and emotional learning, and learn to face setbacks.
Character development helps to shape our inner and outer strengths and enhance our quality of learning and living.
Here, we have rounded up a few tips to enhance your character, overcome obstacles, and lead a happy and successful life.
Five Tips for Character Development
Boost your Self-Esteem
Till adolescence, you have spent your time in a protective environment with friends and teachers whom you knew from a very early age. In college, you meet your peers and professors for the first time, many of whom are from diverse social backgrounds. The constant need to voice your opinion especially if you are an introvert or to stand out in the crowd may put immense mental pressure.
Do not indulge in self-doubt. You must understand that having low self-confidence is very common, especially among young college students. Realize that majority of the students are feeling the same. Be open to your environment. Embrace the willingness to learn and experience new things.
Try engaging in meaningful conversations with a small group. Reach out to your professors before or after class if you are hesitating to talk to them in front of the whole class. Be assertive and vocal about your choices and be mindful of negative inner thoughts.
Take part in college activities. This will help you nurture your skills and hobbies as well as connect to like-minded individuals. Challenge yourself, get out of your comfort zone, and do things that others will hesitate to do.
Accept your Flaws & Own your Mistakes
Self-acceptance is the key to self-confidence. In this world we all are flawed. Our imperfections make us unique. Mistakes are inevitable. To live positively, you have to stop comparing yourself to others. If you judge yourself on the basis of your past mistakes or choices, you will be immensely unhappy, and this will impact your mental health.
Accepting flaws, however, does not mean getting away with unhealthy behaviour which may affect you negatively in the future. For instance, if you are rude towards others, learn to accept that shortcoming and start working on it. Analyze the root cause of your anger and talk to your friends and apologize to them.
Another important aspect of accepting yourself is overcoming body image issues. Unfortunately, many teenagers and college-goers often face harsh remarks from their peers or had body image issues even in childhood which may still manifest in their adult years.
Stay body positive. No two individual has the same body shape or weight. Try to stay healthy and fit. Stop negative self-talk. Seek immediate help for any kind of verbal or physical abuse.
Start your day with positive affirmations and things that you love about yourself. Maintaining a healthy diet is important. If you are obese, consult a doctor and follow a diet that will keep your body fit. Remember, staying fit is the key word and not getting skinny.
Conquer Challenges like a Champion
Challenges are part and parcel of our lives and it makes our life meaningful and interesting. Challenges help us to hone our abilities, self-esteem, willpower, and resilience and make us strong. Be brave to face challenges and learn from them.
Taking up challenging tasks is also a way to conquer self-doubts. The moment you face your fear, half the battle is won.
Sometimes, when we face setbacks, we feel helpless as if the whole world is falling apart. We may lack the coping skills to accept these drawbacks. Challenges can be social as well as academic. Failing in certain subjects or negative feedback from professors or peers may affect us deeply. Be sporting and take this feedback in a positive way. Life is not always fair and there will always be hardships.
When you face a challenge, accept it. Do not deny or overlook the obstacle. It will only delay the solution. Now evaluate the situation and look for solutions.
“Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose – not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.”-Anne Sullivan
Be proactive and take immediate action. If you are stumbling, do not get demotivated or give up. If you have failed in a subject, sulking in your room is not going to help you. Instead, try attending extra classes. Be more attentive and never miss lectures. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will become before your next semester’s exams.
Learn to Handle Peer Pressure
It doesn’t matter whether you are in school, college, or a job, peer pressure is inevitable. Peer pressure can be helpful as well as harmful. Your peers should help you to pursue your goals or lead your life in a positive direction. However, if you are subconsciously feeling a constant urge to fit in, it can harm you in the future.
Pay attention to your emotions while you are around your peers. Are you feeling exhausted or potentially threatened by their presence? Are you indulging yourself in harmful activities like rash driving, smoking, consuming alcohol, etc? Then it is time to bid those peers adieu. Learn to say no without hesitation. Stop doing things that contradict your beliefs and ideology.
Sometimes we feel immense peer pressure in our studies as well. Communicate with your family and professors if you are getting overwhelmed with academic pressure. Indulge in healthy competition. Focus more on your strengths.
Cultivate Curiosity & Persistence
Curiosity is the basis of all learning. Be it in your academic arena or your profession, you will always be measured by the amount of curiosity and the persistence to learn new things. Curiosity denotes a growth mindset and the love to learn new things whereas persistence denotes the commitment or the grit to learn and accomplish those goals.
Your grades do not gauge your success but it is the ability to learn new things, the untold hours, and the efforts you give to achieve your success. Dreams don’t come true overnight. It requires tenacity and integrity to follow those dreams.
Character development is a life-long process. We learn as we grow and there is no end to learning. Regardless of what challenges life throws us, we must learn to fight back and face them. Finally, as you are stepping into the new world as a student be your true self, be confident, and accept your shortcomings.