Have you just started university? Are you among the many who will be joining university soon? or do you have someone close to you, who will be joining university education in the coming future? Do you perhaps have questions, on how the university is like and what you need to do to make the best of University life and education? are you scared of the new experience?
If your answer is Yes to any of these questions, then this article is specifically written for you. This article is prepared for all university candidates, parents, teachers, and all people interested in knowing life at University from a student’s perspective.
In this article, we will look at the following things. What to do and not to do at University, what to expect, who to put in one’s circle of friends, and who not to, what to do to impress professors, and what to do to protect oneself from corrosive professors. Strap yourself and join me in this journey as we look over everything you ought to know about university.
According to Wikipedia’s definition, a university is an institution of higher (or tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in several academic disciplines. Universities have been around for a very long time with the first university being founded in the year 1088. Universities are also considered to be the first in the education system to bring in the notion of Academic freedom, where scholars can challenge, express conviction, inquire and discuss with their students with almost no limits or repercussions. This of course does not mean that they are allowed to get off the topic at hand. However, the Academic Freedom practices allow both teachers, researchers, and students to break knowledge and educational barriers every day. Universities inspire growth, productivity, and innovative research, which are all very crucial to not only the world economy but also human life. Going to university means one gets a part to play in ensuring that our world becomes a better place for all living in it, and those that are yet to come. In most cases, people who make the biggest changes in their communities are those that have been to university, not because they are way more educated compared to the rest, but because their minds are taught to think out of the box while evaluating and testing ideas and to challenge everything that is brought forth to them. This helps humans to ask the questions that most wouldn’t dare ask, or wouldn’t think of. So as you see, it is not a bad thing to be going to university!
Below are some of the things that you should consider whether doing or not doing while at the University
Study to learn before studying to pass; A lot of students at university find it very stressful because they put all their focus on passing their exams. Although this is can be a good thing, it takes a toll on your mental health. It is no secret that university education is way harder than prior levels, putting your focus on passing your examination alone will only cause you to do even more poorly in your academics. If you love the course you are taking, why not study to learn it and get a better understanding of it? which brings me to my second point. . .
Do not take a Major/Course you do not love; The biggest mistake you can do is majoring in a three or four-year program that you have no interest in. Mind you, studying a course because it’s popular, or pays most, or because your parents/guardians tell you to almost always has a bad ending. It results in poor academic results, failure to cope with courses and classes, and it could even lead to mental breakdowns. However, if you are in a position where you are unable to change your major or have no choice but to study something that you have no interest in, then you would be better off finding ways to motivate yourself to like it. Also, you getting professional help from a counselor could be helpful so you can learn how to not hate what you are studying or give up on it, especially later on when it gets tough.
Don’t be quick to trust; what most students don’t understand is that not everyone is like you. Students at university are from different homes with different backgrounds, behaviors, principles, and values. One thing is almost certain though, in the first month, at least half of the students would be faking who they are so they can fit in. If you are not careful, you will easily be made to believe that someone is one way while they are another. Make sure to take your time before making close friends, but be cool with everyone do not isolate yourself completely.
Don’t lose who you are; If you are focused on what everyone else is doing, then you are already doomed at university. As pointed above, universities have a lot of people from very different backgrounds. It is very important for you to know your values and stick to them. If you are a faithful person hold on to that, if you are a hard-working person then hold on to that, same goes if you are strict and do not tolerate nonsense. Be true to yourself and preserve your standards. In the process, however, be open-minded to learn and adapt to better habits that can make you a better person. At this age, you should know what is good or bad without being told!
Explore but only after study; At University, studying alone is not enough. You are there to also make life-changing connections. The person you despise could become the next big thing in a few years. Be humble, respect everyone and explore new ideas and opportunities (Like business, projects, activities) in a safe place that does not compromise your safety or force you to feel uncomfortable and despise your values. You will most definitely fall in love at university, do not let it make you go crazy and lose focus. Remember all these things could be nice, but you are there to study and graduate, so that should be your primary focus and the rest should be done as extra activities.
Learn to save and invest; There isn’t a better point in life where you can start to learn the SGSG formula. Save, Grow, Spend, Give. Think of it this way, if you are dressing up better than your lectures and have better vehicles than they do, you are probably not doing a great job at utilizing your money. Open a bank account and save at least 10% of any money you get (except fixed amounts that are given to you for specific purposes like paying school fees, or money that is not yours). Make sure that you do not only save, but you also invest this money in places that it can grow constantly eg mutual funds. (I would strongly advise against stock & crypto trading for University students). Instead, focus on investing in places that have low risk. For Tanzania, the best option would be UTT Funds (Specifically the Bond Fund and Liquid Fund) but you can also invest in Wezesha Fund for the long-term keep and growth. It would be best also if you invested some of that money in starting a business of your own that you can do in your free time or buy books and courses to increase knowledge.
Talk to someone; Sooner or later, things will get tough. Whether it’s study, relationships, financial situation, or others. Do not isolate yourself and try to solve it alone! Speak and open up to someone. In most universities, there should be a professional adviser/counselor ready to listen (I highly recommend you use this opportunity if it exists in your university). Nothing is more important than your health, specifically your mental health. If you are being bullied, being coerced to do something you do not want to do, or in a situation that is life-threatening or in a trap that has ended up in blackmail, I strongly suggest that you contact your parents/guardians/close relatives. It might be embarrassing or despicable but you sharing it will help you to solve it faster and in a safer way than if you handle it alone. (I strongly advise against trying to solve complex issues yourself, or putting trust in fellow students)
Attend all your lectures and do assignments; Oh I can not stress enough how important this is. Do not allow yourself to miss that one lecture for an invalid reason like being tired or because you slept late. One missed lesson turns to two, three and ends up in the lowest GPAs. The same goes for your assignments.
Participate in class; Lectures have a good memory. your class participation will help them notice and understand your abilities, this will be at your advantage when you are at fault Eg when you cannot attend their class for a valid reason. It will be way easier for them to understand and trust you.
Lecturers are not gods; Engage with your lecturers, ask them questions, challenge them respectively and constructively, and make sure you get your money’s worth by learning all you can from them. Also do not be hesitant to report any bad behavior to their senior or respective government organs or parents/guardians.
So for this article, those points would be enough. I think that if you keenly work on the above advice then your life at university will be worth it! But it is very important to note that whatever you think you know, you probably don’t. University is a mixture of all things, good and bad, so be ready for anything, but always stayed focused on the primary goal. You probably must have heard the saying “College/University isn’t important anymore, or it’s better to be self-employed so do not take university seriously”, well, what I can tell you is, I being an employer now for a few years, the first thing I look at is if someone has graduated university! Yes! although after that I look at other qualities and try to give chances to even those without university experience and accomplishment, I have come to learn that those who have attended and completed university often prove to be more open-minded, hard-working, and can persevere which are all qualities needed together. So come on, persevere! However, if school is not for you it’s not for you, you may choose to drop out and follow your passion, but just know that you will have to work out harder than everyone else on the block to succeed. Trust me, I know!
Here is a tip for you
For my finances, I use the “Money Manager Expense & Budget” app that records all my expenses, budget, money transfers, assets, and liabilities which helps me to know my current financial situation and how to better budget my money. This app is available for both iPhone and Android smartphones.
Do you wish to learn how to save and invest while at university? Do you wish to change your spending habits and start creating a better future for yourself? Then you are at the right place. Stay tuned for the upcoming article next week “The student millionaire mindset”.