24 Common Habits Every Student Should Break Before Leaving School

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24 Common Habits Every Student Should Break Before Leaving School

What do you spend most of your time on? You have two choices; to either feel disappointed and frustrated about the whole situation in your country (high rate of unemployment, poor governance, etc.) or take responsibility for your career.

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It may not seem easy to accept, high unemployment rate or not, but you are responsible for your life’s outcome.

You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.
Jim Rohn

“There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”
― J.K. Rowling

 “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

Below are 24 common habits you should break or get rid of before and as you join the job market or the world of business.

Students Bad habit

1. Blaming everyone else but yourself:

When you blame others, you give up your power to change”. Anthony. Dr. Robert.

Being caught up in the habit of blaming others except you only spells out a lack of responsibility. If you are in the habit of blaming your lecturer, friends, or school for your results, this habits, will not help you in the long run.

2. Spending most of your time on tech gadgets (PC, mobile, TV):

“’I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us’”. In the Movie, Lord of the Rings.

The millennial-generation is known for the habit of spending a lot of time on tech devices and activities with little lasting benefit. If you want to get ahead in your career, you must minimize the “unproductive” time you spend consuming devices. The same technology that kills your time is making someone else rich.

3. The it’s-all-about-the-money attitude:

“You can have it all. Just not all at once.” Oprah Winfrey.

Life is not all about you achieving your money-making goals. If you don’t develop the habit of adding value to other people, you’ll have a tough time navigating through life.

4. common habits you should break – Keeping every friendship:

The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice; it is conformity.” Rollo May.

Don’t get me wrong—we all need to make and keep friends. But if your friends aren’t adding value to your life, and don’t share in your aspirations, there is no point trying to conform. This simply means to choose who your ‘close’ friends are.

5. Worrying about competition:

In the end, the only competition you have is with yourself. Your goal is to strive to be better than you.

6. common habits you should break – Trying to be perfect:

Life is not about being; it is about becoming.” Ikenna Odinaka.

Perfection is a quality we may strive for, but can never reach. Being judgmental and condescending is a sure way to build an island. Accept that you are human and prone to making mistakes. Forgive yourself when you do, learn from your mistakes and move on. Likewise, understand that people aren’t perfect either.

7. Being selfish—it’s all about me attitude:

It should never be all about the money or all about you. Be considerate. If your dream does not have other people in it, it is not worth dreaming about

8. Doubting your potential and ability:

Sometimes, the school system can steal away your true personality and make you believe you are not as capable because of your poor performance in exams and tests. The reality is that life is not about passing tests and exams. And you have within you what it takes to achieve your dreams, no matter how poorly or excellently you may perform academically.

9. Hating to read:

It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” Oscar Wilde.

Who you become after school will be determined by the people you meet and the books you read. I’m not talking about academic books, but books about self help, business, entrepreneurship, relationships, negotiation, lifestyle or any subject that interests you. You’ve got to cultivate the habit of reading, willy-nilly.

10. Hating to write:

“If I went back to college again, I’d concentrate on two areas: learning to write and to speak before an audience. Nothing in life is more important that the ability to communicate effectively” Gerald Ford.

Everyone cannot become an excellent writer but everyone can and should learn basic communication and writing skills. You are forgiven if you don’t like the academic style of writing. That makes the two of us—in fact, most accomplished authors and writers defile the academic writing style. So you are in safe hands, if that is you.

11. common habits you should break – Procrastination:

You probably put off that difficult conversation with your roommate. You may have completed that assignment just before the deadline and nearly missed your test marks. You are not an artful dodger. Even though living on the edge of time does not translate to being lazy or disorganized, it can and does get you into trouble. In the future, it may deny you the best opportunities without you even realizing.

So rather than ignoring tough issues, focus on what you like instead. Identify your assignment and deal with it early so that the problem doesn’t fester, become bigger and become difficult to finish.

12. common habits you should break – Paying for stuff you can get for free:

When you are in school, your dependence on mom, dad or guardian may cause you to to think there’s enough money to throw away everything. Before you checked the library, you had already splashed on the books for your course. There are ways to get things that you absolutely don’t have to pay for, and there’s also the need to improvise (to make, provide, or arrange from whatever materials are readily available). The earlier you are creative with your spending, the better.

13. Walking around with earphones/headphones:

Maybe you are an introvert. Maybe you are having a bad day. Maybe you just love music. Regardless of the reason, you could be put in someone’s life today (even a stranger) who you might help. Maybe it is merely a greeting that can turn someone’s day around. Maybe you can talk about God with someone! But, with those things in your ears, you won’t be able to find out.

14. Dodging to speak in public:

This one is huge and a career killer. But everyone, at one time or another, has to deal with this demon. In fact, having a fear of speaking in public is human. According to the study, for most people, the fear of speaking in public is only second to the fear of death. That should encourage you that it is safe to have these fears. But it is not safe to leave these fears uncontrolled. Join a Toastmasters club near you to start developing this skill. Join us at Lighthouse Toastmasters club – I’ll be glad to meet you.

15. Spending more money on pleasure than self education:

How do you spend your money? The best investment you’ll ever make is in improving yourself; your mental growth, physical appearance, spiritual growth, and and career boost. These are aspects of you that need constant revitalizing and will be beneficial to you for all your life. Do not ignore your you long-term.

16. Having a sense of entitlement:

Eventually, you must accept that your certificate is overrated and does not entitle you to a good life. Because you spent 20 years of your life acquiring academic education, that does not entitle you to any job. The government, your uncle, big mummy or anyone for that matter, does not owe you anything simply because you went to school. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to achieve your dream. This would even apply when you have no degree.

17. Living above your means:

You’ve probably heard the story of that big girl on campus, living large. Then the wretched mother from the village visits, and she publicly denies her poor mother. School is a good place to start cultivating personal finance habits but sadly, a lot of students, while trying to conform, take this for granted. By the time you lose your dependence on your parents and guardians after graduation, you will be forced to live within your means the hard way.

18. common habits you should break – Not taking care of your spiritual life:

Do you pray for at least 10 minutes (in silence) every day? Do you attend religious gatherings regularly? Are you working on those vices and trying to build virtue? The life of someone out of school and shouldering some huge responsibilities often feels lonely and hopeless. Often, you may feel fruitless, like you know you are supposed to achieve more. At times like that, only you can encourage yourself by searching for deep, spiritual things. Feed your soul. It is ALWAYS worth the effort.

19. Relying on the Federal Government of your country for jobs:

I’ve mentioned this earlier but it’s worthy of a point on its own. Governments don’t build nations; industrious people do. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone waited for the government to provide jobs—wouldn’t we all be miserable creatures? If you cannot find a job, find something to do. The only jobless people are those who don’t get something done.

21. Fearing to fail:

How do you treat failure? How do you treat other people when they fail at something? Eventually, when you become serious about achieving your goals, you must make failure your best friend.

22. Giving in to distractions: 

If we were to be honest, the number of distractions that surround a person at a time is as large as the stars in a galaxy, which means that distractions are unavoidable. As a student, you may have people around you who will help you ward off distractions. But as you get older, the number of people around you wanes (this in itself is a distraction). Focus on a set of goals instead. Be open to purposeful distractions and flourish.

23. Unresolved Relationship Issues: 

Childish behavior in school relationships usually makes you lose friendships faster than you gain them while you try not to care. As you grow older, malice and other common relationship issues cause bitterness, resentment, and anger. Any of these feelings can cause us to lose focus on the goals we are attempting to achieve. Manage relationships. Even if we must move, separate, or even just “agree to disagree,” successful attempts at relational conflict resolution are necessary in each of our lives.

24.  Holding on for too long:

“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise, you’ll never understand what it’s saying.” Sarah Dessen.

For some people, you have to hold on to your career path. For others, you may need a change along the way. The majority of students choose their course of study ignorantly. You don’t have to hold on to a career path that doesn’t fit you. At some point, you need to allow yourself to let go and try something new.

There you have it – 24 habits every student should stop before they leave school. Which of these habits are yours? What effort are you making to rid yourself of these habits? What other negative habits will you advise students to refrain from?


  • Ikenna Odinaka C. is a Writer, Career Development Professional, Entrepreneur, Educator and Investor. He is the founder of AfterschoolAfrica.com, AfterSchoolMedia.com and Edxtra.com. He has also co-founded other businesses in Education, technology and media industry. He is passionate about the future of work, entrepreneurship and helping young people explore opportunities to develop their financial capability. You can read his best content on AfterSchoolMedia.com and watch his insightful videos on YouTube

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