Emotional Intelligence | Main page on Education

Academic Success

I just saw an article said to be about "emotional intelligence" in which there is a section on EI and "academic success". But what does each term really mean? In many other articles I have written about emotional intelligence, so here I will write about what academic success might mean.

I graduated with "high honors" in high school, university and graduate school. This really only meant that my grades were high. If I had been able to pay someone to take my tests, and had gotten away with it, I would still be considered "academically successful" by most people who look no more deeply than grades or clothes.

Now as I think about what has happened to the United States since George Bush was elected president, as I read about the history of the Pledge of Allegiance and I reflect on terms such as freedom and democracy, and I read articles about what is called emotional intelligence, I am beginning to form my own definition of "academic success."

I am starting to think that to be "academically successful" means one must resist the pressure to conform. One must maintain one's own integrity. Or one must develop it, and then maintain it. One must be able to shut out the many and persistent voices of authority which are attempting to control your mind, thoughts, beliefs, feelings and behavior.

One must constantly question everything and not accept the answers provided in buildings called schools. One must look for knowledge and truth outside the school walls and outside the borders of one's country of birth.

One must question the motives of those who are called the teachers, school directors and professors. One must challenge them and pay close attention to how they respond, especially on an emotional level. Do they start to feel defensive, for example? Do they start to feel threatened by your questions? Do they give you intelligent answers? Can they express their own feelings with feeling words? Are they emotionally literate? Can they connect their feelings to their beliefs? What do they care about? What are their values? What are yours?

If one can manage to survive the approximately 12 years of compulsory "education" with an ability to filter out the useful information from the useless information he or she was forced to memorize in order to pass tests; if they can walk away from it all and still care about humanity, still be feel mentally sane, not feel discouraged, depressed, defeated and alone, and not succumb to the political, religious and ideological propaganda, or the false security from being part of a group; if one can still want to learn - but not in a classroom, and want to learn about other cultures and meet people from other parts of the world with different beliefs, and help unite them rather than divide them; if one can leave school with higher goals than getting a job, buying a house and a new car, then I would say that person is an example of someone who has succeeded academically.

S. Hein
Dec 5, 2007