Every high school student wants to succeed in the classroom. We all want to gain knowledge, earn good grades, and set the stage for success in college and beyond. Excellence in the classroom comes from dedication and hard work. Remember, every student wants to succeed, but not every student wants to pay the price or has the strategies it takes to succeed.

Now, let’s consider the specific strategies that are needed to be a really good student. Above all, a successful student takes complete ownership of his or her studies. There is an old Chinese saying that “Teachers open the door, but you enter by yourself.” This means that you have to be proactive in your approach. Remember, the sky is the limit but you have to go outside first.

Are you going to make a hard commitment to school or go through the motions? Making a hard commitment to school means that you are being brilliant with the basics. Here are the 10 basics that if you follow will bring out your best and ensure that you have a solid school year. Tape this list in a prominent place where you can view it for regular reminders to keep you on the right track.

1. Show up to every class on time whether you feel motivated to do it or not.

2. Pay close attention during class by taking great notes. Why go to class if you’re not going to pay attention?

3. Pipe up. Ask questions during class, form study groups, and meet with your teachers as needed.

4. Study a little bit each day rather than cramming at the end. Train your brain to be ready to study at certain, consistent times.

5. Earn good grades by working hard and smart. There are no short-cuts or magic tricks for success.

6. Believe that you can excel in any subject if you put your mind to it.

7. Make school a sport and compete in the classroom. View your assignments as a challenge to meet rather than a threat to shrink from.

8. Keep your school work organized and your bedroom clean as our environment has a major impact on our mood and performance.

9. Have smart or focused fun with others who are in pursuit of excellence and disassociate from those who are being self-destructive. No one has ever looked back on high school and wished that they partied more, wasted more time, and skipped more classes.

10. Don’t be too proud to get help. Take advantage of the wonderful support services at school and in the community.

• Sports psychology consultant and licensed counselor Dr. Jim Afremow and his wife, Anne, have been residents of Ahwatukee Foothills since 2000. Contact him at (602) 999-4168, jim.afremow@cox.net or www.goldmedalmind.net.

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