BY ANNABEL MONAGHAN
Higher education has become a fundamental stepping stone for people seeking to become successful and independent individuals. Aside from those wishing to become bodyguards for hire who need only brawn over brains, many young people have elaborate plans for the future that require a disciplined, dedicated and focused educational career. The road to learning is a long and arduous process, filled with hurdles, such as having good time management, a healthy social life and satisfactory grades. Due to the challenges university presents, students need to pay close attention to crucial issues such as time management, balance between academic and social life, proximity and good relations with academics as well as career-based research and pre-planning as parts of the learning experience.
Setting clear career goals from the get-go
Many students are in university due to one overarching theme: to find a good job and have a good life. At one point in society, a degree would amount to a stable job. However, the current economy is bursting with degree holders with no hands-on experience. This has created a competitive environment for job-seekers and fresh graduates. To get ahead of the herd, one should take the initiative to become the employee that employers are looking for. This means finding out more about the industry through fellow alumni or counsellors, finding an internship and most of all, being active on campus. Everything you do from here on out, will define your resume and therefore, your prospective career.
The secret of success is hidden in your routine
Students often complain about early morning classes in college due to hardships of waking up, getting motivated or following class material, but such classes have their advantages as well. The first benefit in this sense is that waking up early gives the student energy and motivation to be active throughout the rest of the day, helping them achieve higher success with their academic performance. This is to say that early birds enjoy higher levels of productivity. This is mainly due to the fact that they find more time to exercise which has significant benefits for their mental health as well as their sleeping patterns.
Having a healthy sleep cycle is a good habit as a student’s ability to focus on school deteriorates during the later hours of the day. Furthermore, in the event there is no morning class, students can take the opportunity to work on their current assignments and investigate career pathways, which will ultimately help with time management.
Control over time gives you control over life
Time, everyone has a finite number of hours and minutes in a day and everyone fills them up in a different manner. In high school, one would have a fixed routine set by one’s parents or the school. Upon coming to university, many students become overwhelmed with the endless possibilities their newfound freedom has given them. While some of the more disciplined individuals might continue down a productive path, the same cannot be said for those with less self-restraint, which would lead to an over-indulgent lifestyle.
Creating a schedule, including when “free time” will be, can help in the long run. This will condition students into doing everything purposefully, as they will soon understand that they cannot afford to waste time and will set aside time for every task. Being able to construct a coherent routine for oneself is not only mature and responsible, it will also help with planning and develop critical thinking – soft skills crucial to finding a job upon graduation.
All work and no play, makes Jack and Jane dull
While it does not do to throw time away in favor of partying and seeking new connections, it is equally unwise to become a shut in and refuse all socializing. According to education PR agency Reputio, “friendships are an integral part of the college experience, helping struggling students to cope with academic pressures, social concerns and even financial troubles”.
Having reliable friends enables struggling students to change for the better and can therefore be a great source of support. When surrounded by good friends, one would undoubtedly adopt healthy and meaningful habits; the same could be said for those who find themselves in bad company. In this case, it is important for the student to recognize that his or her companions are becoming toxic to their lives and to make the decision to cut them out of his or her life.
While academics is important while at university, it is the people that makes your time on campus unforgettable. Striking a balance will ensure that you make full use of this wonderful time of new experiences and higher education.
Annabel Monaghan is a writer with a passion for education and edtech. She writes education and career articles for The College Puzzle with the aim of providing useful information for students and young professionals. If you have any questions, please feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.