Making The Most of College Life Making The Most of College Life
Edgar Buberwa

Edgar Buberwa

15 Jul 2020

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Getting a chance to attend university is a significant milestone, however, it can hold trials and hurdles in addition to having a decent social lifestyle, managing finances, and getting good grades. Striking a balance between these various angles of college life is quite challenging, but not unattainable. While for some people schoolwork can often seem to take over their lives (there are a lot more temptations to neglect your studies too), it’s important to enjoy the years and truly turn them into a time you can look back on fondly. Nevertheless, there are no one-size-fits-all tips on how to run your college life, but it requires a right attitude through the 3 or 4 years (or more) for one to be transformed from a mere college student into an adult with not only education but confidence, entrepreneurial/ job skills, and a global perspective.

The most important aspect of college life is the education or academic life. In college, good grades require a different approach than before. It is important taking classes that interest you, going to class and spending hours studying becomes easier and at times more enjoyable. Sometimes by circumstances, we are caught up into majors we do not enjoy or that were not our priority, it is okay to consider switching majors. It can be a scary thought, but after consulting the right person or two, you are sure to make a wise decision. When it comes to studying, in high school you had to study a lot to get good grades, well, in college, you have to learn to study smart. It may be difficult to earn good grades for one semester, but it’s even harder to maintain them. However, with deliberate effort and commitment, it’s possible to maintain a high GPA throughout.

Attend classes, take notes, get a study group, pick courses you like, befriend the lecturers and be active in class (don’t just ask questions, come up with suggestions/ new ideas, answer questions, and participate in discussions). Reach out to successful students and tutorial assistants for further help whenever necessary. Make use of model/ past papers and tests as well you need to place your focus where you need to improve. Earning straight A’s can be difficult, but good grades are not only an A. Manage well your time, stay organized, work to understand course material, and maintain a healthy lifestyle that allows you time and energy to fulfill your academic requirements.

College is all about exploration and discovery, make time within your schedule for interesting activities other than studying. Get involved in academic associations, social clubs, sports, volunteer work, and even part-time jobs (although this choice needs to be carefully evaluated). Many students think that these side activities will distract them from studies because it takes an extra effort to balance them and still get good grades (it is very possible), but surely they add meaning to your college experience that education alone can never fulfill. For example, taking a part-time job in a relevant field of study could count as an experience when building a CV as much as it provides supplemental income.

Studies also show that students who take part in extra-curricular activities were found to have better leadership skills and learned how to relate better with their peers than those who didn’t. Teamwork, problem-solving, sense of responsibility, communication, better social skills, and critical thinking are just a few skills that are developed when a student engages in co-curricular activities. To cement this, engagement in extracurricular activities has been known to help in developing entrepreneurial capabilities and even employers check what the student has to offer apart from their academics (leadership positions, previous experiences however minor they are, and any other meaningful engagements) that is where co-curricular activities come in.

Social life as a student is equally important. The lack of social life for anyone, especially a college student can result in terrible loneliness and depression, possibly even a lack of academic motivation. Take also activities that can help you increase your social circle. The college and its surroundings provide the scope for a large area of interests and pursuits. Put them in good to use in the college and see your world grow. Take part in competitions, talent shows, debates, go off-campus, explore the city, and other opportunities that may increase your friends' circle and also mark your place in the college society. Furthermore, most campuses have religious organizations that cater to a wide variety of beliefs, it might be considerable to visit them as a safe place to find inspiration and protection, or even connecting with fellow believers.

It is good to know when to walk away. Meeting new people does not always mean the birth of a friendship or clicking, it is okay to move on and let new relationships forge at their own time and space. Roommates don’t always work out as friends, even previous high school friends may turn and become not as close. It is not a big deal. There shouldn’t also be a pressure of trying to fit in or blending to the living styles that cannot be catered for, without faking it. One should not be pressured to take on activities they are not used to, or they do not find exciting, or for some reasons goes against their norms and beliefs (a student also should not judge those who do) such as drinking, going out or activities that one is not interested in. Exploration and finding one’s true self should not be at the expense of the proper values and norms. In the end when you find peace in all the engagements you pursue, beware these not to distract you away from your original purpose of getting a degree, be strategic in trying to get the best of both worlds: studies and social life.

Ultimately, college life will teach you responsibility. You will have to make tough choices, perhaps risky ones, it is advised to take calculated risks, and whatever the results, it is your fault, no one else’s (that’s how cruel life can be). Do things differently, go the extra mile and your hard work will meet an opportunity. Throughout the time at the university, one should constantly work on becoming well rounded in all aspects. This includes a student’s intellectual, spiritual, social, physical, and moral capabilities. There is a need to strike a balance between all these aspects so as to make the most of the time attaining your educational goals. Don’t lose yourself nor communication with those dear to you in the midst of all newly forged relationships (which may as well last a semester or just after graduation). Above all, remember who you are, where you came from, and what you are looking forward to achieving.

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Edgar Buberwa
Written by

Edgar Buberwa

Currently engaged in strategy consulting for development, Edgar is passionate about the involvement of young people in the economic, and entrepreneurial development of Africa. He is also a proud Rotaractor, and the President of the Rotaract Club of Young Professionals.

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