“This is a learning experience and a teaching moment for you, Lauren.”

I had gone into Dr. Roger Bradley’s office that morning seeking help in economics class, but I left with a much more valuable life lesson.

Like many students, I was average when it came to test scores in high school. My sister, on the other hand, was a straight-A student—to the point that she skipped a grade.

I used to wonder what was wrong with me because I could often explain a concept to my parents or friends better than she could and yet she would usually receive the higher grade.

My dad later told me that a grade isn’t always a true representation of an individual’s knowledge; sometimes, people prioritize differently, which tends to reflect in their academic test scores.

My sister studied for hours, but I certainly did not. Then again, the time dedicated to a test doesn’t guarantee an A.

I didn’t know how much I believed him until I came to college, learned this fact in an education class and saw it for myself firsthand.

I have recently realized this was his point—dedicating time to the appropriate things will be rewarded, even if the reward isn’t an immediate A.

Even a low grade can be perceived as an accomplishment if we finally learn the material, learn from our mistakes or learn how to manage our time more effectively.

As I sat in Dr. Bradley’s office, I explained every concept to him fairly well—or at least so I gathered—but my grades were not reflecting my comprehension of the material.

He simply turned to me and asked how much I had been studying—how often I had been studying.

To be honest, I hadn’t been devoting much time to learning economics at all because I thought I understood it!

“Whether you really do or not doesn’t matter; you have to practice it,” he said.

I was confused and upset. I talked to my dad again, and this time he suggested I had never taken the time to develope any real, consistent study habits of my own.

I was often preoccupied with extracurricular activities or friends and didn’t devote the appropriate time to achieve an A in high school.

Well, having a lack of study habits was definitely coming back to haunt me in college.

I started evaluating my time at college. I’m only a sophomore, so there isn’t much to reflect on. But so much happens in so little time, it’s amazing what growth we see in ourselves! Or maybe, the lack thereof.

Freshman year was almost a waste. I remember struggling to get by in some classes, but advancing quickly in others, only to fall behind because I became too preoccupied with friends and other activities.

Anything aside from studying for classes isn’t necessarily bad—in many cases students benefit from outlets—but the time needs to be balanced appropriately.

Sophomore year has definitely improved, but I find myself reverting to my same tendencies. It’s almost like when we make a New Year’s Resolution—we follow it for a few weeks but struggle to maintain it.

Dr. Bradley’s final thoughts that day in his office ring in my ears.

“Your struggle to understand economics and earn the grade you want is a learning experience and a teaching moment for you, Lauren.”

As a future teacher, I want to share with my students the struggles I had during my high school and higher education.

School is hard. None of us will argue with that. And we all come from different backgrounds, different learning styles and different educational structures (generally home school, Christian or public).

I want to communicate to my future students and to my current friends and family the importance of time and correct priorities.

Time is precious, priorities are telling, and how you deal with both shape who you will become later on in your life.

I’m striving to be more productive with my time every day—prioritizing my quiet time with God and the people around me, without neglecting the development and diligent pursuit of good, solid study habits.

What are you spending your time doing?