WHAT TO DO BEFORE COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY

Now that you’ve danced the night away at a prom or had a Qur’anic Walimah and graduated high school. You secured admission into that College/University of either your choice or not, the college countdown is officially a go. Though you may be eager to pack up and start a new life at your new school, I want to share with you a few tips that will help you have an interesting experience in College/University campus.

As you may be aware of the huge competition before securing admission into the country’s College/University, a good WAEC/NECO result doesn’t guarantee admission, you still have to pass Post-UTME and if you’re lucky get your chosen course of study otherwise you opt for Schools for Remedial Studies. 

  • CHOOSE THE RIGHT COURSE TO STUDY: Most students in College/University hardly give you a strong reason why they choose their course of study. For some; it’s just the course name e.g. Industrial Design, just sounds good. Some might say a rich uncle or neighbour is making a good living from the profession. I had a mate who spent weeks with the JAMB Brochure and made numerous consultations on the highest paid profession, he was given Physics as a course of study in the University, he is currently undergoing Master Degree in International Relations. I have a friend who’s lured by the word meaning of a course (Geology = Geography + Biology). For some, they don’t have a clue at all why they choose their course of study.

If you’re a prospective undergraduate student, ask yourself; why do I want to go to the University? Do I care about becoming a Chemist? What is the point in spending four years learning to become something I have zero interest in? How employable or self-employable is this profession considering the economic situation of this country? 

Before you fill a course choice in your JAMB form, be sure to talk to at least two professionals in the field. Ask them questions on what the profession involves and its applicability in the country.

Research the internet, read about the field, and consult experts before making your career choice. The Guidance and Counselling office in schools should be strengthened for this task. Concerned community organisations like The Readers’ Hub and Soho Development Foundation reached out to some Secondary Schools to offer free career counselling to students in Katsina. We can do more!

  • MAKE A CLEAR DECISION FOR GOING TO COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY

You leave Secondary School; the next big thing is to attend the University. It’s the right thing to do, but the wrong thing is to go there for the wrong reasons. I heard stories of ghost students, who everyone thought he is supposed to graduate. He had to confess to his parents he was never admitted into the University, his reason was friends were in the University and he wanted to get close to the school so he could work on his admission the following year. Some ladies dress up, wear beautiful makeup and go on campus purposely to look for prey.

It is really exciting about securing admission into a College/University; it’s about desires to go with that age group, leave parents, guardians, and teachers and have freedom for once with peers.

Parents should be flexible and allow their children growth and socialization. As you secure admission into College/University knowledge and experience should be your main thing, if not it’s not worth it.

  • YOUR CAREER AFTER SCHOOL DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND YOUR DEGREE CERTIFICATE

“To those of you who received honours, awards, and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you too can be president of the United States”.

George W. Bush

For most of us, going to a College/University is all about graduating with good grades. Studying hard and graduate with an excellent result. Once you have a good result, every other thing falls in place after school. Those with a not so good result can go mourn their loss. But things are changing these days. Concentrating solely only academics isn’t just wrong but risky, looking at the quality of education in our Colleges and Universities. Do not be a triangular student (hostel, library, class). Rather, engage in extracurricular activities (community service, student union, etc.), go the extra mile to learn skills related to your field, socialize, work hard, pray, and graduate with good graduates.

Possessing skills can take you further than an excellent result can. It shows that you’re worth more than just a printed certificate. Spend your time in College/University self-developing.

If after putting in your best shot, you end up with a second class lower, you can still prove that you are worth more than a third-class citizen, it’s totally up to you.

  • COMBINE YOUR SCHOOL COURSE WITH EXTERNAL COURSES. LEARN AT LEAST ONE NEW SELF-EMPLOYABLE SKILL OUTSIDE YOUR COURSE OF STUDY BEFORE YOU GRADUATE

“Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing, and dream while others are wishing”.

-William Arthur Ward

In an assessment of reading culture among students in Nigerian tertiary institution, it is said that 60% of students read prescribed textbooks only during examination period; that browsing and watching television have taken most of the students’ time for reading, and that only 21% of students buy novels and self-help books to read for knowledge and pleasure. This isn’t a surprising statistics; it could be worse.

Activities like partying, watching Television, playing video games, ‘aimlessly’ browsing the internet, smoking shisha, being a die-hard Arsenal fan are taking over most of the students’ time.

Devote this time to learning a new skill; Computer programming, web design, Graphic Design, digital photography, video editing, sewing, fish/poultry farming, etc. Read “how-to” books, attend Language schools teaching foreign languages like Arabic, and Chinese. The internet has made it easier for one to learn and know about anything at little or no cost.

I spent most of my time at the university as a triangular student and not seriously learning extra skills. It was after graduating I realized that I need to take a step further to learn skills, socialise, and read books outside my scope. There’s no short cut, you need to start equipping yourself now and by reading this article, you are already taking a positive step. 

The importance of good reading culture cannot be over-emphasized. It enhances the chances of success at College/University and beyond. Reading is not just for school but mainly for lifetime growth. Reading to pass your exams is a good thing. Reading to self-develop is a better thing.

These are a few tips I have for aspiring undergraduate and college students to make the best out of your stay in higher institutions. Which is your favourite and what more tips would you like to add? What are your reactions, suggestions, and comments on these tips? We are all eager to hear your opinion on the comment section below. 

Footnote:

Part of this article was culled from afterschoolafrica.com

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