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Things you can do while in College/University.

by Evalyne Ndanu
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Mostly we take for granted the period we are studying. We are always looking forward to the next step in life but never looking around to savor our current season. It is time to see the beauty in our present and make efforts to maximize on it. The time we do our coursework is very valuable and making the most out of it will definitely go a long way in giving you a head start in life after school. Here are advantageous things you can do while in College/University.

Start something.
Start something that aligns to your interests and passions. It could be in the field you are studying or not. Consider registering a company if you would like to try entrepreneurship. Whether or not it succeeds, you will learn some important principles. For example for me, I started an NGO that brought together different students from different universities to visit and help the less fortunate in the community. We visited more than 12 children’s homes and fed more than 3000 street children. As we visited, we taught them about the power of computers and technology. Add value. Look around and within you. It could be something individual, as simple as creating a website. Just start something, there is a lot of room for growth and mistakes.

Get as much work experience as possible.
Especially during long vacations from school. When you are free without coursework. This is a great time that you can maximally utilize. Apply to internships. And explore as much variety as possible. You can explore different companies during different vacations. At least every academic year has a long break. Plan for this. If you have enough time to allow you to have a part time job during your coursework, go for it. Work exposure certainly helps us have a feel of our future work places. You can also adjust accordingly upon realizing that you are maybe interested in something else.

Network with course mates and professors.
An asset that we have while doing coursework is the presence of course mates and professors. Before looking elsewhere, strive to make genuine connections and relationships with those around you. Build as many meaningful relationships as you can. Your course mates help you build your relationship skills. Professors are normally the most overlooked assets in school settings. However, professors are the ones who can give greater insight into the course work. For most opportunities that come through school, the professors know about them. Having good relationships with them opens a door for you to get to know about them early. Professors are also great referees. Either if your want to further your education through scholarships or write them as referees on your CV.

Practice working in a team.
‘I work well in a team.’ This is a statement that sits well with many recruiters and interviewers. The statement coupled with some practical examples seals the deal. Being team oriented is something that can be learnt right from College/Universities. You can have study groups with your course mates. You can do research and projects in groups. Sometimes this may require you to come out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes in group settings. In fact, it is a good space for learning from mistakes. Learn how to add value to your team members even as they add value to you.

Try new things.
What a great time to explore. Have anything in mind that you have always thought of doing? Explore and sample. Join that salsa group, sports team for example swimming, art class, Crotchet group. I have a friend who learned crotchet while doing her coursework and she not only became good in it but loved it. Upon finishing her coursework, she wasn’t able and still hasn’t been able to secure a job in the field she studied for, but guess what is keeping her afloat, the crotchet skills she learnt. She makes crotchets in different styles and designs and sells them. Trying a new thing is definitely an addition. Engage in as many new things as possible.

Find a mentor or become a mentor.
A mentor could be your professor or your course mate. Look around you. Also explore the different mentorship platforms. 
A mentor will point you in the direction. You can try the different types of mentorship, peer to peer, group mentorship, traditional mentorship or online mentorship.
Be a blessing with what you have learnt, you can teach others and Make a difference in their lives. You don’t need to be at the top of your career to mentor others. Begin where you are. You may find yourself a new hobby.

Impact of mentorship.

Explore the world. Seeing and experiencing other places expands our minds. It removes us from our cocoons and exposes us. It allows us to experience different cultures, languages, food, weather and way of life. Don’t be quick to pick up the complaints of expenses. Traveling doesn’t necessarily have to be far. It could be around the location you are in. There are things to do almost in every place and town. Seek to engage in this. Bottom line, travel and get to see new places.

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