Three years ago, I embarked on a journey at the age of sixteen to start my law degree. This journey led me to countless opportunities, some of which I grabbed with open palms. Looking back, there are many things that I will tell myself about academics, friendships and ‘the future’. Looking back, perhaps, I would have acted and reacted differently.
You will have to forgive me because I am still trying to get over the regret of lost opportunities. So, I cannot stress it enough- the university is a world of opportunities and you have the chance to make of it whatever you wish. You will attract what you are giving out- people will go the extra mile for you especially if you are one who is worth that extra mile.
So, here are 7 things I wish I knew before university:
- The Art of Prioritisation
It is an art because it is open to interpretation. You will not get the chance to be everywhere and do everything. You have to prioritise between your studies, meeting with friends or even getting a haircut when you have a looming deadline. Don’t get me wrong, you will have time to yourself. However, it is important for you to rate what is the most important thing to you. This would make decisions easier for you. For example, on the list below are things that you have to do, which do you rate the least?
Get nails done Go to London for Jess’ (one of my besties) birthday on Saturday Write 300 words as part of my essay Complete HSF vac scheme application on Sunday
Let’s say Jess’ birthday means that I am unable to complete my application due on Sunday, knowing that a vacation scheme is my priority means I will be sending my apologies. Knowing your priorities helps you to prioritise even when your heart is not being reasonable.
You will sometimes have to prioritise friendships, those that matter to you. You will also have to prioritise your health (don’t make the same mistake I did). You will have to prioritise sleep. I think it is important that you know prioritisation means something will potentially be sacrificed because it is less important or urgent. How you define important or urgent is of course, left to you.
- Friends Come and Go and Maybe, Some Last Forever
I believe in the power of friends. I always say that if I had the friends I have now, I am sure my goals will seem much more achievable. It is important to attract what you want. Do not be the best person in your circle and try to always meet new people. I wish I knew that I should seek friends who have similar goals to myself. These friends will become your support system especially on days when you cannot uplift yourself. These are the friends that will eat ice cream with you at 2AM and take crazy photos of you falling asleep in the library. These friends are important but you need to know which ones and what importance they serve. Some of them will last forever but don’t be afraid to let friends go when the time is right. Don’t hold back your growth to preserve a friendship.
- Be Curious
Curiosity killed the cat. Guess what? You are human not a cat. I wish I knew that I am entitled to be curious about everything. After all, you are at university to pursue your intellectual curiosity. I think this also transcends beyond university into your personal development. Be curious about yourself: how you react to failing, why you are driven, what drives you and who you want to have around. Do the extra google search about where you want to be also. Curiousity is fuel, keep it burning!
- Do Something Else
The saying ‘all work and no play make Jack a dull boy’ is true but for me, all work and no play makes a boring CV. You need to have something be it sports or some other leisure activity which you do outside your studies. Don’t be that person who can only engage in a conversation on why the law does not equal justice. Do something different, I love the game of monopoly and I never lose. Do something random for your wellbeing. The time at university will fly by so fill it with interesting memories.
- Believe in Yourself
I know- at the beginning, everyone looks like they have got it all under control and on the inside, you are screaming. Whatever it is that you are screaming, whether it is a cry for help or ‘I cant do this’ or ‘I don’t belong here’, please remember this. If you do not believe in yourself, nobody else will. You are just as capable and brilliant as everyone elese in that room. You can do everything that you envisage, the first step is your mind.
In first year, I had this ernomous level of self-doubt, I had recently arrived in the UK and was the youngest in my class. I said to myself, there is no way I can compete in this class. Yes, people looked like they had it all under control but guess what I got a prize at the end of my first year. It does not matter what you think your disadvantage is, believe that you can be what you envisage. That is all you need!
- Think Ahead
This is the biggest advice that I can give to myself before university. When I graduated, I realised suddenly that all my life, I was thinking about the future but that future was now. You need to think, what next and after that. I do not think that there is anything with dreaming (that is why my blog is named Dreams& Essence) When you are in your first year, ask yourself where you would like to be in the next three years. Then, be curious about what people have done to get to the stage you are aiming for. Think after that what next but don’t forget to live in the moment as well.
Finally, the university experience is like no other. You will not know it all. See life like you are unravelling a present day by day. So I end again with the quote by Steve Jobs ‘‘you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.’’ I am sure that you will be excellent.