Over the years, students and even educators have had a misconception of who the student really is. We’ve had a misapprehension of the true student-identity. Currently [and blindly too], it’s been a common feature to identify a student as only one who wears a school uniform, carries a school bag and attends school. Ask anyone who the student is, the common answer you’ll get is that a student is one who goes to school or simply one who receives lectures and takes notes. I’ve had to ask so many students this singular but striking question during my speaking engagements in schools and churches, and I keep getting the usual answer. It’s increasingly obvious that we lack the true idea of who actually is a student. At this point, I dare to ask again:
*Who is a student and how do we know one?
*What makes one a student?
*Why are we called students?
At least, it is clear that the word student has meaning and that it is a name given to someone. It is however on this salient note that we shall begin a critical enquiry into the nature, meaning and import of the word ‘student’.
According to my motivational and all-time academic success book: UNLEASHING THE GENIUS INSIDE, “a student is a person engaged in learning something from books”. A student is an individual like every other human being, only that he does something special others don’t do ~ he is preoccupied by studying. The Latin root word for student is ‘studens’, meaning ‘to study’. So the student is basically one who studies. From this we get a clearer picture of who a student is. A student is not just anyone who attends class, wears uniforms, carries school bags, copies notes or does assignments; he is someone who studies. In fact, he is one who has studying as his major preoccupation.
The word ‘student’ is just a name like say; footballer, singer, dancer etc. It is a ‘special’ [or nickname as I prefer to call it] name given to someone who ‘begins’ to do something entirely new from what he used to do before. This means that we weren’t students from birth, just as no one is a musician or footballer from birth. But once a person learns how to read and write, and begins to get actively involved in studying, he becomes a student; just as when one learns how to play football and starts playing it often. In both cases, a new activity has just emerged and the implication is that the person involved in such an activity will have to be given a new name because of that activity. This is the background that gave birth to the word ‘student’. Owing to this background, the activity must continue if that person must continue to bear that new name. This shows that the activity in question is not a final state but a process that has to be on-going. For this, whenever a person who has been actively engaged in studying suddenly stops the activity, he will also cease to bear the name associated with that activity. He will become an ‘ex’: for example Austin Okocha has retired from football and is no longer playing football, so he is now an ex-footballer. So is the student who stops studying. He becomes an ex-student. Unfortunately, we have so many ex-students in our schools today! This further implies that anyone who has not been engaged in this activity is not worthy to bear the ‘new name’. This means that the ‘nickname’ student is not for you if you don’t study. Furthermore, anyone who bears the name is only doing so because of his constant engagement in the activity.
From our analogy, it becomes clear that a student is one who ‘actively’ engages in studying. He is not a student because he wears sandals and goes to school every morning, or because he copies notes and receives lessons from teachers [though they’re part of what he is expected to do]. He is ultimately a student because he studies. To better explain and even emphasize the basic nature and characterizing feature of the student, I invented a personal word for him ~ ‘studier’. To me, this word better explains the nature and job of the student. This means that a student is one who has studied to the point that people now forget his real name [because of his continuous act of studying] and start calling him a nickname: ‘studier’. Yes! That’s how the word originated in the first place.
In my thinking, this is the most suitable word for the student! He is one who has studied to the point that his new activity now fetches him a new name, just like a person addicted to something soon receives a new name associated with his addiction!
Dear student, you need to know that why you’re called a student is because of your constant activity of studying, just like playing football is to the footballer. If you don’t engage in it constantly like the footballer does, then you’re not a true student!
Also in my book, I identified two types of students in our contemporary academic milieu: the academic student and the non-academic student. The academic student is the true student; the one that engages in the new activity [studying] that now fetches him the name ‘studier’! The non-academic student is just like the bench-warmer footballer who does doesn’t play but wears jerseys and comes to the football pitch to cheer the players. He is the student who doesn’t study but merely takes himself as a student because he attends school and does other things outside studying. He is an ex-student and in another article of mine, I called him a ‘ghost worker’! You will not be mistaken if you choose to also call him an ‘academic hypocrite’. Unfortunately, most students find themselves in this second category. But you: where do you belong?
Note: you’re not a footballer because you wear jerseys or run or do other forms of training, you’re a footballer if and and only if you can play football well. This is also true about the student!
Like playing football is an occupation, being a student is an occupation too! Just as footballers are paid to play football, students are also paid to study. Hmmm! I know that sounds shocking, isn’t it? That’s why you need to read my all-time academic success book, UNLEASHING THE GENIUS INSIDE, to find out the truth about yourself.
Here comes the last shocker: the word ‘student’ is a false name, it’s a fake name! In fact, it is a nickname or ‘guy-name’ as some of us may call it. Have you ever wondered why you’re called a student? [I will advise that you pause and think about it for a while before you continue reading].
I said earlier that the word ‘student’ is a name, but come to think of it: don’t you have a name you’re called by? Now you have a surname, a first name and other names. But which of them is ‘student’? Think again; on which of them does the name ‘student’ fall under? That is to show you that ‘student’ is just an additional nickname, not the original name; and it’s given to you because of what you do. If you’re not doing what people they call students do, then you’re not entitled to be called a ‘student’. Now, because ‘student’ is a nickname, you will not always bear it. Once you stop doing what is associated with that name, you stop answering the name. That is why whenever you leave school, you become an ex-student. But sadly, so many students who are still in school are ex-students because they don’t study! You’re a student simply because you study! The primary job of the student is to study and make good results, all others are secondary.
It’s no longer time to bear a name of who or what you’re not! It’s a time to check yourself and find out where you belong: academic student or non-academic student? Decide it now!
Let’s have your say in the comment box below…
Yours truly motivational,
The Academic Coach.