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Winning Essay

Lindsey Beckman
Southwest Missouri State University
Springfield, Missouri
(Instructor: Professor Don Aripoli)

What is a Master Student?

In the professional world, masters are regarded as individuals who have become experts in a field of study and practice. The title master also indicates a degree of authority. Thus, the term master student could be perceived as an oxymoron. Whereas a master is an expert in an area, a student is one who is in the process of learning or studying a field. Therefore, to be a master student one must become and expert at learning new material. The challenge may seem difficult, yet many individuals have the characteristics, philosophies, and goals to succeed.

Master students are versatile and do not fall easily into one occupation, but in some cases they have become master teachers. What better way to learn a tough subject than to teach? Master teachers easily are recognized by their enthusiasm and knowledge of a subject. Their students honor them with respect and magnetically are drawn to their continued curiosityóa characteristic above all others that makes one a master learner! Abraham Lincoln said, "I donít think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday," illustrating a master studentís need for new knowledge.

Master students also must excel in time management skills. Achieving every goal, attending every meeting, and finishing assignments and projects require one to plan time efficiently. In college there are many deadlines for which time management is key. Master students are tenacious. Answers may be hard to find, and sometimes problems require more than an hour to solve. Thomas Edison once said, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." Master students use campus resources and services to excel. Perseverance is a trait essential to anyone wanting to learn new concepts or navigate around obstacles of life. Their ambition and perseverance enable them to tackle areas of curiosity.

Master students also live by a philosophy that contributes to successes. They love new challenges and are not intimidated by them. They do not shy away from taking certain subjects because of course difficulty or reputation. If the learning style of the student does not match the instructorís teaching style, a dedicated student will adjust to the teaching style. Master students enjoy the process of learning as much as the mastery of the subject; "nothing ventured, nothing gained!"

Accomplishing goals is a common characteristic of an efficient student. Many times good students become overachievers and try to accomplish too many goals at once, but master students know how to prioritize and organize projects for timely completion. To do their best, self-motivated master students are aware of their preferred learning style and apply it in their reading, listening, note taking, and test taking skills. Nothing pleases them more than the satisfaction from accomplishing a job well done. The ability to describe the gains of a class is more important than an "A" grade.

I believe myself to be a master student, not because of the endless hours studying or doing homework, but because I love to learn and to help others. Albert Einstein beautifully described one of my philosophies in saying, "Try not to become a man of success but rather a man of value." Master students involve themselves with campus organizations to support campus activities that enhance community service.

Recently, I realized what it meant to be a true student. Throughout my primary and secondary education, I thought participating in schooling was what society expected of me. I enjoyed it, but nonetheless the meaning of master student escaped me. During my final year of high school, I understood that the decisions about my future education were mine to make. Feeling positive that college was the only place for me, I was eager to blossom into a true scholar. College students should attend school because they want to learn, rather than to obtain a high salary. This quest for knowledge is vital for a master student to become a lifetime learner and contributor to society.

Overall, master students are among the most influential people in our society. As children, they motivate their teachers to continue teaching and contain the curiosity, enthusiasm, and spontaneity to keep life interesting. As adults, they uncover new and sensational ideas, inventions, facts, and theories. People such as Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, and Benjamin Franklin were so enthralled in their quest for knowledge that they persisted until becoming masters in the purest senseóby illustrating tenacity, perseverance, ambition, curiosity, and passion for the subjects they loved.