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Sunday, September 17, 2017

How to Have a Successful University Experience

Written by: Ifeoma Jennifer

While secondary school left you hardly discovering new things (yet unconsciously forming your strengths), university is the place for conscious personal growth, discovering and developing new talents.

Time and time again, it has been proven that there is a strong correlation between success and the feeling of happiness. Naturally, we care about a place or a project a lot more if we have contributed to it, if we have dedicated a part of ourselves to it. So in order to be happy at university, you need to feel you belong. And to feel that, you need to get involved.

These four or so years represent one of the only times that you will have the chance to indulge freely in your hobbies and connect with people from a spectrum of diverse educational and cultural backgrounds – virtually at your front door. 

Here are 7 ways to make the most of student life.

1. Make friends:
Life becomes boring when you put yourself in a corner without socializing. In fact, you may fall into depression thinking nobody wants you and that will ultimately affect your studies.

While you come across different people in your hostel or class, build friendships. Commit yourself to making good friends who will impact greatness in your life, and not friends who’ll only want you to sponsor them to parties, without impacting positively in your life, thereby leading you into trouble.

Know people so you can keep up with the information going round on campus and in your class. Know people to increase your visibility zone so you, a born leader, are not left out of the opportunity to be a group leader for that class assignment.

Form study groups with your colleagues, say hello to those you meet on campus (Even if you don’t know them), seek for reasonable advice, and ask for help, if you really need it. Deliberately do away with shyness and timidity. It will simply not help you in life.
Don’t mar the relationship you have with people thinking you are better than them and don’t force friendships. Network with people and learn something from them too.

2. Join clubs and commit to them:
Whatever your interests and hobbies, I guarantee there will be at least one club or society connected to it at your university. But of course, you knew this before you entered because you have joined some already. What you might have found is that you haven’t committed to any of these extra-curricular activities fully, and dropped a few in the process.

Commit to activities of the clubs or societies you join. Be rest assured of your own capabilities and give it a try. It doesn’t matter if you fail or get defeated at the end, the experience matters. The vast range of university societies means it’s a fantastic opportunity to try new things. Many of the activities of these groups will cater for novices. So rise to the challenge and say yes to something different. It is equally good to know that, you earn a lot of skills should you remain committed and actively involved in extracurricular activities.

3. Have a smaller circle:
Some of the best memories of school-life come from lessons and experiences with your closest friends. And how determined you are in life may be completely hinged on them. There’s always something to learn from close friendships even in the negative moments. So choose carefully those who will form part of your smaller circle because they will greatly influence you.

4. Attend organized school activities:
It’s a real exercise of trust to let yourself free from your books. As much your grades are important, giving your brain a break actually rejuvenates you and resets your focus.
Do attend the fresher’s night or the games night. Go along for the talents showcase evening or join in. Support your school at a sporting event. Even if something sounds boring or not your thing, going along means you’ll have a chance to know your class-mates and the people you’ll be living with.

5. Explore the practical side of your course:
Perhaps you read and read and have no time to actually apply all that you read.  If you study information management in your school, during the holidays or internship period, why not find a programming activity to take up? Or if your course at school is Chemistry, you can look for a lab or a school with a lab to teach at. 

You can also volunteer at a local charity doing something in line with your course. This is an opportunity for professional and personal development. Don’t escape working when you have the time during long holidays.

No matter how well you know the area your university is in, there is nothing better than actually doing the practical side of learning about what you are interested in especially when it ends up earning you money or experience in the long run.

6. Get a scholarship:
When you hope to get a scholarship, you will be up in your academic activities, yes? Attaining for a local/international scholarship means there will be a little something to challenge you to keep up with your studies. It is important to not forget why you paid and struggled to be in the university. 

Develop a healthy reading culture and participate in group discussions to help solidify what you have read. Ultimately, read, read read so you can apply for academic scholarships to study abroad. Having this in mind may help to make you more focused in your studies.

7. Take care of your physical and mental health:
This is an obvious tip but also one that we tend to give low priority. Sleep well, exercise and eat healthily. The bottom line is that you can’t do something well if you’re half-asleep, feeling lethargic or working on an empty stomach.

Of course, university isn’t the be all and end all. You don’t have to go to university to make a success of whatever you want to do. If you happen to attend a university, count yourself as one of the lucky ones.

In conclusion, most employers during interviews want to know about the applicant’s special skills or their all-round knowledge. Sure, good grades will give you a job however your ability at interpersonal communication and tackling problems, learnt from applying yourself deeper in school-life will reflect on you and take you farther in life; more than you expect.

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