Personal Website for Mr. De'Marcus I. Jackson, MS, PgCert
Master of Science in Educational Psychology
Post-Master's Certificate in General Psychology
Associate Professor in the PSYC Dept. at Columbia State Community College

Characteristics of a Successful Learner

Columbia State graduates


Successful Learners
Struggling Learners
… accept PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for creating the outcomes and quality of their lives. …see themselves as victims, believing for the most part that what happens to them is beyond their control.
… discover a MOTIVATING PURPOSE, characterized by personally meaningful goals and dreams. have difficulty choosing a purpose, often experiencing depression and/or resentment about the meaninglessness of their lives.
… consistently plan and take EFFECTIVE ACTIONS in pursuing their goals and dreams. seldom identify the specific actions needed to accomplish a task. And when they do, they tend to procrastinate.
… build MUTUALLY SUPPORTIVE RELATIONSHIPS that assist them in pursuing their goals and dreams. …are solitary, seldom requesting, even rejecting offers of assistance from legitimate resources.
GAIN HEIGHTENED SELF-AWARENESS, developing empowering beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that will keep them on course. …are slaves of disempowering life scripts that carry them far off course.
BECOME LIFE-LONG LEARNERS, finding valuable lessons in nearly every experience they have. …tend to resist learning new ideas and skills, often viewing learning as drudgery rather than mental play.
DEVELOP EMOTIONAL MATURITY, characterized by optimism, happiness, and peace of mind. live at the mercy of their emotions, having their success hijacked by anger, depression, anxiety, and a need for instant gratification.
BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES, feeling capable, lovable, and unconditionally worthy as human beings. doubt their personal value, feeling inadequate to accomplish meaningful tasks and unworthy to be loved by others or themselves.


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Contrary to popular belief, both success and failure are options. Choose wisely.

In order to maximize success in psychology courses at Columbia States, students are urged to have very good reading, writing, and studying skills. The ability to think critically and reflectively is a plus! (“What is Critical Thinking?”) The topics covered in all of the psychology courses offered at Columbia State can be very challenging, necessitating an excellent study and work ethic.

Don’t be afraid to participate. It is when students actively listen, engage, and participate in a course that authentic learning takes place. Ask questions. Answer questions posed by the instructor. Make insightful, informed comments. If you want to get the most out of your education, then participate in class. (“Class Participation”)

Read, read, and read! You have to read and study to be successful in psychology. Now, we know that students have very busy lives, but your education should be just as important as any other life domain—you are paying good money for it, you are using up good time for it, and you are making many sacrifices for it. Reading and studying are crucial elements in most college courses. If you believe your reading and studying skills are lacking, then seek to improve them. (“Seven Critical Reading Strategies”)

Finally, get to know your instructors. It never ceases to amaze just how little attention students pay to this essential element of success in higher education. Visit your instructor during posted office hours; try to meet with your instructor before and after class. Utilize the instructor’s willingness to provide out-of-class tutelage. Seek to understand your instructor’s personality, teaching philosophy, likes and dislikes, and interesting quirks. Students would be surprised how successful they will be if they took the time to form a genuine, cordial, and professionally affable relationship with their instructors. (“College Professor Tips” ; “Get to Know Your College Professors”)