We need to understand that attending university is not just about you and your books….Of course that is important. Infact, it is the primary reason or should I say among the primary reasons you are there. But university REALLY prepares you for life and it is not always about book knowledge!
You see, whether we like it or not, when going for a job interview even after attaining that 1st class, you will be asked questions like ‘Tell us a time where you used your own initiative to solve a problem or a time where you were in a challenging situation and what did you do?’ In that instance you are not meant to be talking about the stuff you learnt in lectures or seminars or whatever…..you are expected to have engaged in some extra curricular activities outside your studies which will enable you gain those skills needed for the set job. Even before you get to the interview stage, you will be expected to fill in an application form or attach a CV and of course you would have to highlight some roles you took on and the skills developed hence.
Like I mentioned before, not only are these skills needed for a job but for life and it is a gradual process. A wise student will harness those skills whilst in university especially or even before university.
University is tough no doubt. Going for early morning lectures, being caught up in assignments, studying for exams, dealing with those annoying flatmates and what have you…..but the key word is BALANCE…There are mostly lots of societies on campus….Of course you are not expected to join all of them! But join as much as you can! In Leeds, there were about 250 student societies, so to say you dont even join one single society is quite strange! You never know how far that will take you. When I first went to Leeds, I knew there were societies there to join but the problem was how I will get involved in them…..so I started with one…Thankfully I ran into the then president of the Ghana Society who warmly welcomed me into the society where I was later assigned an executive position. That was among the first positions I took in uni and I learnt a lot…..amidst the challenges and struggles.
This also involves taking a lot of risks….I am VERY thankful for Leeds for the exposure and the opportunities it gave me and the fact that I took advantage of it! I can boldly say that I could not have gotten this anywhere. If you want to build your experience or CV then apply for that position on the student portal that excites you so much…..if you don’t get in apply for it the following year if it becomes available. I remember 3 opportunities I got rejected from the 1st year I applied for them….I tried the 2nd year and I got in….The thing is we are sometimes too lazy and don’t even want to try…not to talk of trying again….but you NEVER know.
I remember in my 1st year, a scholarship opportunity became available and it was in my faculty….the first of its kind and only one available to a 1st year student. I thought to myself other people will apply for it and what are my chances of getting it….What even put me off the more was the whole application process….But I ignored all those and applied….I still say till date that, that was the EASIEST application process I have ever been through. Like it was nothing compared to what was advertised. That scholarship was filled wiith lots…went to many places , met amazing people and did amazing things…all thanks to it. I just sit back and think what I would have missed out….Had I not even TRIED applying!
Due to my involvement in lots of activities, I can say I had quite a rich experience whilst leaving university which went on to open other opportunities for me. I had made a huge impact in my faculty and the university as a whole which led to being honoured in several ways….same after completing my degree. It helped me in discovering myself, learning more about myself and understanding my interests better.
You don’t want to leave university wishing you had done this or that…Those 3 years…well except your degree is in the field of Sciences…come and go very quickly….like I could not even believe I was graduating! Do it NOW….NOW….NOW. If there any conferences that could help in the advancement of your knowledge in your degree attend….even if you have to pay to attend….you will NEVER have it all for FREE…I have had to do that few times in university especially when it was too late to get funding….If there are any talks, seminars organised by your faculty, attend and interact! Don’t just waste these opportunities! There was only one thing I missed out doing in university which involved travelling to China but even with that I had another commitment so it was not really my fault but I can always travel to China. There are some things you would NOT get to do again…So please do them NOW when you have the opportunity!
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