College is freedom – for a while. Students basically don’t have any worries, and there’s a certain freedom to make decisions because you’re now an adult. There is basically nothing to worry about in addition to the classes or whatever event/club activities you are involved in. The most you would be worried about is where to eat your dinner! The University life of 4 years is neither long enough nor as short as you think it is, but, do note, this phase will be over soon.
Take it from me. the reason you go to a particular university is not because at the end of it there is a large pot of money, nor does it guarantee you a decent job, even though you may have the highest level of academic qualifications! The purpose of attending a university is to promote independent thinking, to make you wise in worldly matters, to make you less impetuous and your mind more mature.
“A man who insists on a wrong view after independent thought is more worthy, than one of the right view without thought.”
About Your Academics
Depending on who you ask or what you read, there will be some people who say that a pass is as good as any higher grades you muster. What I understand is that the higher your CGPA, the better you will be at managing your life, it is a very important part of your future success. Why do I believe this?
When I was still a student, I asked my Dean, if merit does not represent everything about a student, then why is it that companies ask for a certain CGPA or why do they ask us about our educational certificates and marks when we apply for a job?
He replied, grades do not tell you whether the student is an expert in all that he claims, it just says that the person is smart or that he is hardworking and that he will be an asset to the company. It also helps them identify students that will achieve more in their job profiles. Besides, students who graduate in the top are more likely to have scholarships and thus less likely to be burdened by financial problems, ergo, less likely to be stressed at work.
Having scholarships will help you ease financial pressures for your parents too. And when you do graduate and get a job, you will be able to afford better living standards, while your friends who have taken loans, slog away to repay them.
About Extracurricular Activities
College is not just about academics though! You need to be part of the extra curricular activities. Go and take part in all the events. Join your friends, join total strangers in the planning of the event! Learn to be part of a team, learn to manage a team. Learn to be a leader, learn to be an ordinary team member!
However, do note, it doesn’t make you better if you participate in more number of activities, not does it make you stronger if you are part of bigger events. Choose those events that you know you can do to the best of your abilities, never leave anything uncompleted. Learn from the activities, reflect on what could have been done better, grow yourself through these experiences, do not let yourself stagnate!
So it is ideal to choose a few activities to participate, only those that really mean something to you, do your best, learn about your abilities and interests, and then step by step lift yourself.
I have a lot of friends who go volunteering during vacations, which include local visits to Asare or hombelaku – about upliftment of the destitute or homeless, or as teach for India fellows, or visit across borders to teach or do social service in countries like Cambodia, Thailand or Nepal. By volunteering to help, they learn more about society, and a group of strangers from all over the world become friends, everyone works for the same goal, that is to make the world better.
“Sometimes you just need to experience, spend time alone and feel the world. Every little thing that you do can make a big impact.”
“There are many things that I could not learn and experience by attending lectures or tutorials in campus. Volunteering changed my world and perspectives, so could yours.”
That was what my friends shared with me. One of them had this to say –
“My personal experience is that before going abroad, I thought I was going to make some money, and then I found out that more than the money, it was the experience that was valuable. That was a turning point in my life. In a short vacation period, do something meaningful, you will not realize how much your effort impacts the small people. Being a volunteer not only affects the world, but provides you with many valuable experiences. You can find a range of volunteer opportunities at home and abroad, one of which is AIESEC.”
In addition to the knowledge you gain in class, students should read more books. It is actually quite expensive to buy a book, good thing is we have a library that is world-class and with many online subscriptions! How many of us have used books from the library during our time here?
Reading can expand our knowledge and lets us get into the minds of diverse authors, the majority of whom we can learn a lot from. When a person is reading books from different fields, it allows a person to explore a problem from a different angle and learn from different views. Some good books can take us to another world and discover something concepts we hadn’t thought about. Reading is not just looking at words, it involves reflection and thinking, asking questions to get the essence and to assimilate these concepts. Read, let’s learn to think, choose, have faith, achieve freedom. One book every month is actually not much, you can probably read 10 pages every day, read meaningful books, communicate with the author on those rainy, lazy afternoons.
College is the most freedom you will get in life. There are not many problems in life, you are young and dynamic, there is hardly any pressure. Do whatever you need to do, participate in activities, take part in contests, become and entrepreneur, etc. It’s okay to fail. The big things come from taking risks, you still have a lot of time.