Home Education Tips Is your ego getting in the way of your education?

Is your ego getting in the way of your education?

Is your ego getting in the way of your education?

Some courses are easy, some courses are difficult but it turns out that how you feel about yourself can make a big difference to how you approach your studies—and whether you view your success or failure as fair.

We often have people try to enrol in courses that are beyond their apparent capacity. Just to be clear, CoursesNow consultants are true consultants in the sense that they talk to prospective students, find out where they are in their career and then try to find the right course to suit their needs and abilities.

Most of the time, candidates are actually too modest about their abilities, asking for Certificate III and IV courses when they can qualify for a Diploma or Advanced Diploma. Occasionally, however, we have the opposite problem: someone who wants to get into a Diploma course but who, on paper, does not look suitable.

I have previously written on entry requirements and how they work to assist you in enrolling in a course that’s suitable for your level of skills and knowledge. Another aspect of this process that’s often ignored is the complacency that accompanies non-merit based entry.

A study conducted at the University of Otago, New Zealand, suggests that excessive entitlement, characterised by “an exaggerated or unrealistic belief about what one deserves” is a terrible way to start your studies, particularly if the course ends up being challenging.

Reeking of self-centredness, the word ‘entitlement’ already has a bad reputation. The researchers—Donna Anderson, Jamin Halberstadt and Robert Aitken—do, however, acknowledge that a little entitlement is a good thing: “Among other things, possessing a sense of entitlement helps people to reject unfair treatment and gives them confidence to expect and claim good treatment from others. As such, psychological entitlement is considered both necessary and essential to human growth.”

By contrast, excessive entitlement is considered a negative trait as it produces “an unreasonable expectation of favourable treatment without assuming reciprocal responsibilities”. The researchers found that, unsurprisingly, the more entitled students felt, the less motivated they were to work for their grade, and the less effort they put into their course: “greater entitlement was associated with poorer final exam marks, particularly among students for whom the class was objectively challenging.”

So how can you avoid having your ego stand in the way of a good training experience?

  • Accept that you are a learner; don’t assume that because you are smart that you will know everything in the course. Being humble allows you to learn more.
  • Understand that reward does not come without effort. Yes, there will be some people who are naturally gifted at certain activities, but what you might not see is the passion and practice that goes into that talent.
  • You may be gifted, but no one is gifted at everything. Acknowledge that you will have weaknesses and strengths and work to turn your weaknesses into learning experiences rather than turning your strengths into complacency.

Want to read more? You can download the paper at SciEdu > Entitlement Attitudes Predict Students’ Poor Performance in Challenging Academic Conditions

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