11 important traits that all students should learn along with their formal education

NACCAU - National Arts and Cultural Crafts Association of Uganda

Besides reading, writing and arithmetic, school is the only place a student has to learn other basic skills, and gain insight on certain things that not everyone is privileged to learn. Here’s why;

  • School is where students spend most of their early childhood years.
  • There are lots of teachers who can help them learn different things.
  • Lots of students from whom they can learn through association.
  • Rules and regulations that exist in schools.

As someone who went through boarding school since before my elementary level to the end of high school, I can firmly say that I learnt more from school than any of my parents taught me. Here are some of the things that students can learn through school.

1. Hard work

Hard work is one concept that has been misconceived in the modern age. This is because many people do online businesses that require less time and attention.

However, we all know that hard work beats talent or natural capacity. We’ve all seen students that read themselves pale, and performed better than everyone else. Children should learn to work harder in the following ways;

  • Putting in more hours into a task.
  • Moving on from a task only after it’s done.
  • Making fun out of work, instead of a boring task.

When students learn to work hard, they can learn and do almost anything, and can eventually solve any problems that come their way.

2. Perseverance

In the modern world, people move on from one thing to another as soon as it fails to work out. However, the people that usually win on things they do, usually persist, even when they have failed so many times. Here are the rules of perseverance;

  • Trying the same thing multiple times.
  • Doing the same thing in different ways.
  • Ignoring negative talk (naysayers)

However, they also have to learn that there are times when they have to give up on certain things, especially if after trying all the time, it still fails.

3. Strategic thinking

This is the habit of thinking and visualizing a couple of steps ahead of any action. This involves thinking and planning for what will happen before, during and after a certain decision/ step.

Young people these days think more about strategizing as a boring activity. They rather approach things in a YOLO kind of way, and improvise all along.

The most popular excuse is “you don’t know what the future holds”, but that’s irrelevant, because you find it easy to improvise while in a situation you foresaw.

4. Opportunism

Opportunism is the tendency to see and seize an opportunity in almost every situation. Opportunity manifests itself in some of the most unfortunate or bad circumstances.

When students learn opportunism, they get to see good things in every situation, and this will help them solve as many problems, and achieve as many milestones as they want.

However, there are some situations that require you to tone down on the opportunism, especially for ethical reasons. Sometimes, there’s just no opportunity. Therefore, there has to be a balance.

5. Competitiveness

In the modern age where so many people are born with equal opportunities, everybody needs to be competitive enough to guarantee their success in almost everything in life. This trait is better learned in sports like;

  • Football
  • Marathons
  • Chess tournaments

However, students also have to learn to tone down on their competitiveness. This means;

  • They have to know that there’s always someone who can do better.
  • Learning earlier that you can’t do everything.
  • Not letting their competitive nature interfere with their meaningful relationships.

6. Open mindedness

The world is changing drastically, and people that aren’t open minded risk missing many opportunities. Here’s how they can open their minds;

  • Watching TED talks
  • Keeping up with the world trends
  • Embracing tech.

However, there are downsides to that, as some people have been scammed into fake schemes like;

  • Fake crypto scams
  • Fake network marketing pyramid schemes

Therefore, students should not be gullible in the name of open mindedness.

7. Assertiveness

It is just as important as open mindedness to be assertive. This is where you stick to your beliefs, even in the face of conflicting data.

This doesn’t mean you have to stay attached to your feelings even in the face of better data. Instead, you have to be ready to change your opinion in the face of better data.

8. Optimism for the future

Optimism for the future is the key to so many dynamic changes. With this, children know that there’s more in life that they can do besides succumbing to the status quo. Optimism is the key to

  • Innovation
  • Invention
  • Creativity
  • Entrepreneurship

Of course, it is not 100% guaranteed, but you can be sure that optimism will give your students a positive approach through life’s hardest challenges.

9. Team work/ collaboration

Many people have misunderstood the phrase “self-made” for an aggravated sense of individualism. However, this is not what it takes to be successful.

For a faster, better and more reliable approach to life’s most challenging situations, you have to have a good team around you.

Other than that, success won’t come easy on your side.

10. Delayed gratification

Delayed gratification is self-discipline by another name. With this trait, children can be able to put off things that seem pleasing but aren’t important. This will be the basis for keystone habits like;

  • Saving and investing money
  • Exercising/ working out
  • Sticking to a strict diet
  • Sobriety

In this modern era of technological disruption, it’s hard for anyone to go five minutes straight without checking on their phone. This is a major distraction, and students can only resist the urge if they learn to delay their gratification.

11. Creativity

Creativity is paramount for every student, and will enable them put a twist on almost every conventional thing in their society.

By boosting their creativity, they will be able to come up with ideas which will become the core game changers in their society.


In the modern society where it’s common to find unemployed people with college degrees, it is necessary for every student to learn the above traits, because a combination of all, will make them unstoppable in real life.

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