Lessons learned at university stretch far beyond the academic. Abram Molelemane shares some of his most valuable lessons learned while studying. Make sure you don’t miss out on anything in this precious time.
Abram Molelemane | Godfella Productions
University can change someone and can help them to mature. It helps to form your political, business, social and economic views and is the rite of passage to prepare students for life’s challenges that await them post-degree.
I mean, in my experience my most valuable school experiences weren’t of an academic nature. They were all about people – social skills, respect, self-worth, empathy, and realising my own potential. On the sports field I learned about winning and losing graciously. In the classroom I learned that doing your best counted far more than academic ability.
You learn the importance of many things, not just the importance of an education.
The life lessons you learn at university aren’t learned in classrooms, but through your experiences. And because of teachers and lecturers who believed in me, I also learned that I was far more capable than I thought. Below are some of the important life lessons I learned outside the classroom. Read, and be encouraged that your grades go far beyond your next accounting exam results.
The most important thing about attending university is being able to show other people what you know. As an accounting student, chances are that you won’t present or have the opportunity to write extensive essays to increase your communication skills. But you don’t only learn good communication skills through oral presentations in class – you also acquire these through interacting with other students. The way you communicate can affect your career opportunities and even your relationships. Also, engage in community events and social clubs that will allow for interaction that will no doubt up your networking abilities.
Conflict resolution skills
I learned the value of good conflict resolution skills when I had differences with a roommate. We had different values and habits and just didn’t get along. At university, you learn how to deal with these types of situations. And hopefully you do so with grace. This skill is essential in real life when you might not get along with a co-worker or someone else you come into contact with quite often.
Time management is one of the core skills we learn at university. We learn this important skill when we attend classes, prepare for tests, do our laundry, shop for groceries, make time to hang out with our friends and participate in extracurricular activities. By prioritising your time, you learn about discipline and responsibility, and acquire great organisational skills.
I wouldn’t say that university is for either losing or finding one’s self; I would say it’s for both. Tertiary education expands your mind and paves the way to your future. While many people may not yet have a clear vision for what they want for their future, they are constantly learning more about the world in which they live and about themselves. This is the optimal time for self-discovery: learning new things, pursuing new passions and finding your place in the world.
University creates a space that allows for a bit of an identity crisis and self-discovery, as it throws you into a whole new world that includes new people, new responsibilities and new opportunities.
No one is looking over your shoulder and telling you what to do anymore, and there is rarely someone who has a preconceived idea of who you are or who you should be. University allows you to truly discover who you are and who you want to become.
Budgeting and saving money
One of the most essential set of skills and habits that one picks up at university is managing and budgeting your finances. Whatever amount of pocket money you receive, chances are that most of it goes towards covering basic living expenses. Just about everyday, you learn how to spend your money on the things that are most important to you – and to not spend it on things that aren’t. And although you might not realise it, this learning experience of budgeting and saving money with the little amount you receive on a monthly basis, teaches you how to spend your money responsibly. These lessons will come in handy in the long run, especially when you start working. Chances are if you land an internship before getting a permanent job, you will have to apply more or less the same budgeting principles.
When you are at university, you gain more responsibility. All of a sudden, you need to feed yourself, do your own laundry, complete your assignments and submit them on time. You’re also responsible for your own actions. Your parents aren’t there to do things for you, or to tell you when you did something wrong, and you therefore experience an important time of learning to be independent. Being responsible is a difficult lesson to learn, but one of the most essential in life.
In closing, I can safely say that apart from academics, there are other important life lessons learned at university. Attending university gives you an opportunity to meet new people, explore career options and experience being away from home.
You gain a sense of independence by making your own decisions. You learn to manage work, studies and money
in order to provide the things you may need while living on campus. You make friends with people from different backgrounds.
You get a better understanding of others’ views and do things like participate in social clubs or go on field trips that you never thought you would. In essence going to university, college or any other tertiary institution is the best opportunity for anyone who has the privilege to do so.
The above listed are just a few examples of some of the important life lessons I learned during tertiary education. It is during this period that we learn some of life’s most precious lessons that either make us or break us.