There are always mistakes people make in the course of their lives that they wish they could correct. Some people wouldn’t change anything but me? I would press the reset button on a few things I did while in university.
For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and the mistakes I made in university built the person I am today but if I could go back in time, I would do so many things differently.
While you are striving for your degree/diploma/certificate, you are bound to mess up. I guess you can call it the folly of youth? lol. For many, university is the first time they are responsible for themselves and this road to maturity is bumpy for most.
I didn’t start out studying Law. When I finished high school, I went to campus to study International Relations. I later left it and I am now studying my true love, Law.
Looking back at my first experience of university, I can see I made many mistakes. Things that cost me time, money and so many opportunities.
There are things I wish somebody warned me about. If I could start again, I would change a few things. Not everything, just a few things. Here are some of them:
Choosing the wrong career
As earlier mentioned, I started out doing International Relations. Not sure why I chose it but it wasn’t long before figured out it was not the path for me.
The problem is, I didn’t spend enough time exploring the world, careers, and universities with an eye to decide what I wanted.
So ended up in a class I had no interest in. Wishing I was somewhere else the the entire time.As students, we often make decisions based on parental pressure, what our peers say or the salary you think you will get after you graduate.
Yes, certain careers tend to pay better than others. But if you’re passionate about acting, why would you pursue electrical engineering?!
You make a wrong choice when you ignore what you are truly passionate about. Work closely with a guidance counselor, mentor or any objective person to determine a career that fits for you.Money never trumps happiness!
To be fair, I normally had good reasons for missing class. Although missing one class here or there won’t hurt, missing class on a regular basis can affect your grades.
It is easy to convince yourself on how pointless it is to sit through a lecture. You can always buy photocopied notes and can handle assignments by doing them the night before. While its highly likely to pass without attending lectures, it is highly unlikely your lecturer will text you for that impromptu CAT.
Missing classes is a lot of fun until exam week. You realize how much you have to study within a short time. And the funny thing is, this is the time you realize how interesting the course work is and how you would have done so much better with a little more effort.The trans-nighting, the stress and the regret. It’s just not worth it.
Photocopied notes and textbooks don’t substitute the words of a lecturer. They explain concepts in a simpler way so you grasp easier and faster. They also give hints on what will come on the exam, so you have an idea on what to focus on when studying.
Wasting my long holiday
I regret wasting my long holiday. It is important to rest but 4 months of doing nothing is excessive. Do more than watch series, hang out with friends and sleep.
Nowadays when I see a fresher I tell them to go be messengers in a law firm during the holidays, or get jobs while on clinicals. Most newly grads suffer from overconfidence. They believe that they’ll have no trouble finding their first job. This simply isn’t the reality.
Start out as an intern or volunteer. It is a great way to see if you want to get involved in certain career fields later on when you are finished your schooling.You can get a feel of the organization or area of work, and see what it’s like to help in that line of work.
The knowledge and training you get will become an invaluable asset to you once you graduate.It is also a great way to add experience to your resume, and many employers will be happy to write you a reference letter once your commitment is up. That’s how you become a fresh graduate with 4 years experience on your c.v.
Start looking for a job while you’re still in university. Don’t wait till you finish.Avoid tarmacking and stay ahead of the game by getting in early.
Take the time to learn how to manage your finances.University life is expensive. Tuition, books, housing and many other expenses you will incur along the way.
Set up a budget so you don’t get caught unawares with things like student debt.
When you receive your HELB loan, keep this in mind, in no way, shape, or form is it your money. The banks fool you by putting your name on the check.
That money belongs to the government. After you graduate, they ill want it back.Don’t form bad financial habits now, as do so many campus students.You could invest in a business. By the time you finish campus that business would have taken off.
One of my uni goals was to remain unnoticed. Sit at the back of the class because If you sit in the front row, your lecturer will expect you to sit in the front row every day. Forever. And if you don’t, you will have to explain why. You don’t need that kind of pressure in your life, right?
Wrong. Building a friendly relationship with your lecturers is a winning strategy. Being a stranger is not. Use faculty office hours to ask for help or explanations of what you did not understand.Discuss topics for papers or ask for a review of an outline or draft. Continue an interesting conversation that begun in class. But the bottom line is, make an impression on the professors.
In the end,you will have an army of lecturers writing recommendations for you or suggesting scholarships to you. Make friends and allies of the faculty.They don’t want to get you in trouble, because that is more work for them. Be cool, and they will be cool.
Choosing the wrong friends
I spent most of my first year hanging out with the cool kids on campus. They seemed fun and did exciting things. And once you find people who accept you ( or pretend to), you hold on to them very tightly. So I did anything to fit in.
I wasn’t from a rich family, but they were. I would tell my parents lies and they would send me the little money they had which I would use for road trips, drinks and fancy clothes.I miss so many CATs and classes I had to deffer a semester.
One Saturday morning as we were driving back to Nairobi after drinking the entire night, we got into a car accident. I escaped unhurt but one of use almost lost their lives. They were sitting next to the driver and when the two cars collided, he flew threw the windshield, landing hard on his head.
He survived but that moment changed things for me. While sitting in the waiting room, waiting to see the doctor, I realized I didn’t ant to live like that anymore.I realized the friends I had all had family money to bounce back to should something happen to them.
On the other hand, my parents were struggling to put me through university. They had sacrificed too for me to squander it on booze and designer clothes, yet there I was wasting my life and using the little allowance they gave me to entertain them so I would fit in.
My parents never put pressure on me to succeed. But that day is when it hit me. It like I suddenly saw them age before my eyes. They weren’t going to be strong much longer and who was going to take care of them?
It wasn’t worth it.
Do yourself a favour and just drop the toxic friends. They’re anchors. You’ll be better off without them.
Thinking good grades=Success
No one really tells you about life after graduating. All you hear is “education is the key to success.” But there are people out here with good grades and they can’t get a job. Being an A student can never be a curse, it will opened doors for you.The problem is the mentality we bring into careers.
People who ‘fail’ can still make it in life and people who ‘pass’ can also find themselves struggling. What I know is what separates the successful from the unsuccessful is humility, perseverance and hard work.
Nowadays I learn for the sake of knowledge, rather than competition and necessity.Its not always about getting As. You have to be street smart. Grades are not an evaluation of your intelligence. You can fail in a unite and get an A+ in life.
Prioritizing a relationship.
Handle relationships with caution because we all know how these things go.University is a great time to get to know yourself through other people.The more you limit yourself, the more you risk not learning about all kinds of likes or dislikes you might have.
Not saying everyone should go crazy in hookup culture, but develop yourself, before deciding to attach yourself to someone else. I’m not a sadist, and I know many people who started dating in campus that have successful relationships.If you find someone suitable, by all means, give it your best. If not, explore the other side of your life.
Choose your partner carefully. Don’t blindly start relationships because they could be that thing that brings you down. Your future is very precious.Once in a while, you’ll realize that every hour you wasted with someone who wasn’t worthwhile would have been very constructive for you in doing something more productive.
Uni is going to be a significant part of your early adult life. So minimise the amount of time you waste on meaningless activities but dont forget to have fun. Focus on having great experiences to look back on. Sometimes beautiful paths are found without getting lost.
I hope my mistakes are your gain as you go forth on your adventures.
Looking back, what do you wish you had avoided?