The Diagnostic Medical Sonography students in 2017 are a savvy group, comfortable using technology and ready to take on the world. They have already proven their ability to succeed in school, but are still surprised by how different college is compared to high school. Typical advice for success includes developing good study habits and connecting with fellow students, but great students go beyond the traditional advice. They develop unusually good habits, ensuring a great college experience.
Most people who start a sonography program (check the ultrasound school directory in 2017) enter college with hopes and dreams that include being a great student and not just a good one. Good sonography students plan ahead and follow the tips offered by faculty and practicing sonographers. They are active in the program and network with other students. This is all good advice to follow to enhance student success, but there is more.
Typical advice is common sense advice, but walking the extra mile to be a great sonography student in a CAAHEP accredited program might also mean following some not-so-typical advice. A lot depends on the student’s personality and characteristics. Typical advice, like shutting off the distracting cell phone, is good advice for everyone. Great advice is to spend time analyzing what is personally distracting. One person might be able to ignore the beeping triggered by text messages, but is easily distracted by clutter in a room. Shutting off the cell phone without finding an orderly room in which to study is likely to hinder achieving great results.
Ever wonder why some students seem to have such good success, whereas others seem to constantly struggle? The struggling students can make it through, but who wants to spend their college years always trying to find the right formula for success? The best habits are the most effective habits, meaning students need to develop personalized habits and not generic habits that apply to everyone.
Following are some unusually good habits that take the college experience to a higher quality level and can produce the greatest results possible while the student is studying Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
- Company we keep – Remember the old expression that says we are the company we keep? Successful sonography students are serious students who concentrate on their studies full-time. The sonography program is not easy by any definition, so network with people who have the similar goals. Spending too much time with students (sonography or otherwise) who are not serious about their studies and achieving excellence can drag anyone down.
- Recognize feelings – It is not okay to be a stoic. People get tired, discouraged and focused on the wrong things. Recognize feelings about a poor grade or discouragement as a sign that something needs to change, and then make the necessary changes. Concentrating on the negative feelings, or pretending they do not exist, is not productive. Thoughts without action can be very harmful.
- Develop resilience – Patience may be a virtue but so is resilience. It takes real effort to adapt to college so it should not be approached as a mere extension of high school. Students must be able to act independently, make good decisions, adapt to the new environment and bounce back from unexpected setbacks.
- Choose learning tools wisely – There are plenty of companies offering study tools and educational tools designed to help students by making ultrasound-related material easier to digest. It is possible to spend a small fortune on these study aides. A better approach is to first figure out precisely what it personally requires to master difficult material. It may or may not be the $300 workbook someone developed for sonography students. It may be as simple as some type of flashcard system the student develops and customizes to include the material presenting the most difficulty. Never worry people may scoff at such “childish” aides. When the test is aced, they will probably ask to borrow the flashcards!
- Other people – Here is some more great advice. Do not worry about other people and their successes and failures. Do network with fellow students, but do not assume that what worked for them or what failed them applies to anyone else. This goes back to the need to customize the learning experience in order to become a great student.
- Sleep – There is so much going on in college that sleeping may seem like a waste of time. It is not. Getting enough sleep is critical to staying healthy. Researchers have studied the correlation of sleep and grades, and the results are in. Students who get six or more hours of sleep every night (emphasis on “every”) have higher GPAs. Great students are not yawning in class, and their ability to concentrate is intact.
Showing up for all classes and clinical training, doing required homework and studying with fellow sonography students can lead to a good experience. Assessing and managing personal characteristics and developing unusually great habits that fit circumstance can turn an ordinary college experience into a great one. A student successfully completing the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program by having a great college experience is sure to have a great career in ultrasound technology. Great beats good every time.