My University Experience.
First year: System Failure
I, like most students, went through my first year extremely phlegmatically. It was drilled into my system that because the first year will not be counting towards my degree classification then it is acceptable to mess around. WRONG! Although for most degrees the first year doesn’t count, I found that first year is what lays the foundation for the succeeding years and that it is much harder to undo a system programmed incorrectly in order to make amends than it is to just programme it correctly in the first place.
Second Year: Rebooting
So second year came and it came fast and I was now trying to salvage my academic stance which proved to be easier in theory than practise. The first step was to sieve some friends. I quickly noticed that not all my ‘friends’ were really good for me. It is good to surround yourself with people that can encourage you and at the same time will be encouraged by you, not folks that have no direction. Separation is important. Not that I stopped talking to them altogether but I had to draw a line and make a clear distinction. Two can walk down the road together only if they are in agreement. It was not hard to create some distance between me and bad company as I knew Jesus knew best.
During this year I learnt a lot about other people. There is a lot of group work involved in my course and I had the privilege of working with some seriously cantankerous people. At times we seemed unqualified of grasping significance and nuance and did not quickly extract the importance of working together. Nevertheless, I am glad I worked with everyone I did as in the real world you will have to work with difficult people at times but it is important that you know how to deal and relate with different people. It makes it more fun when you work with theatrical characters and I am confident that whatever groups I work with in the future, I am well equipped.
Final Year: Recovery
Final year was the best year of all. In this year I learnt so much about myself and a lot about my subject. It is commonly said that you learn more in your dissertation than you do in your entire degree. I’m not sure how true this is but I can definitely say that my dissertation was a huge learning curve and a major rollercoaster too. From failing my literature review, to losing my work twice and being told it would be impossible for me to achieve a first in the module; one major lesson was to be learnt: Always back your work up! In fact my situation stirred so much fear amongst students and staff alike, people began taking extra measures to back up their documents. I was also very disheartened by being told I would not get a first in the module and even broke down to tears a number of times. After contemplating giving up I decided to turn things around and just do what I could. You will reap exactly what you sow, so I depended on Jesus Christ for strength at this point and the day I got my results, as you can imagine I went absolutely crazy to see that I got a first for my dissertation after all that. It was very rewarding, to say least and my confidence was recovered.
I took the opportunity to really appreciate some of my lecturers in this year of which DMU has some excellent academic staff that genuinely care about students. I learnt that it is important to glean as much knowledge from tutors as possible and I am glad to be one that was highly esteemed and valued by academics.
So in conclusion, the things I have learnt upon reflection of my degree(s), to wit: one is at university to learn and is not supposed to have the answers already. Getting this concept wrong is an error made by far too many students and in fact serves as a key caveat to academic success. For me, there were times where I would be unsure about something but I would refuse to ask the tutor as I had convinced myself that the answer must be really simple and blatant and it would be a stupid question to ask. There is one thing that is official in education: “There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers”, the words of one of my lecturers. I thus, encourage every student to be confident, even if you are wrong; you have to be confidently wrong because that’s how we will learn. It is imperative to get to a point where correction is celebrated and not neglected.
Secondly, in all that you are getting ensure you get God first. The times I did my assignments by following God I would achieve a first class but when I got stressed and relied on my own ability and my own understanding I would never perform very well. Aside from this, education and success without God is altogether vanity and vexation of spirit