Fact- you will never have as much space to fail in life than you do in college. Fact- this raises your chances at success more than tenfold. How are you utilizing this breathing space? Are you somewhere planning tonight’s bash, or are you watching the latest movie? Do you really have to play FIFA all day?
No judging. I am just saying that your time in college is a recipe for success with all the right ingredients. No pressure, lots of time, support from your parents, untapped energy from your friends, free funds. So are you becoming a better person because of it, or in spite of it?
If you are at a crossroads, here’s a starters map for things you should be doing. Am trying not to reference Harry Potter’s Marauder’s map…
Play a sport
In my high school, sports were a chance to get out of school and indulge in junk food. But I really did play awesome defence in hockey. Recently, I passed by the hockey pitch as I was waiting for a friend. I couldn’t help but wonder why I didn’t spend all my Saturdays on that pitch. It would have saved me lots in chest meds. And the coach was super friendly. In my first year, I always had an excuse but looking back, nothing.
I won’t even say I lived next to the board games venue and it still took an Equity bank event in 2017 to know am amazing at Scrabble. Play a sport, even if its chess, it’s good for your brain and you’ll make worthy connections. Some will say play station counts, I wouldn’t know.
Join a club/ society
This is pretty obvious, or maybe I just watch too much Dear White People but find a club whose ideas you believe in. journalism, Music, Creative Arts, Dance crews, Bibliophiles… You can always get a list of the available clubs from your Dean of Students. Spend at least three hours per week with this new crew, expand your circle.
There are myriads of opportunities in such clubs. Working with NGOs anyone? RedCross is an awesome place to start for humanitarians and their events are pretty cheap. I joined PAMBIO Kenya, travelled to Kampala with them, educative, fun, totally worth it.
Learn a new skill
Time is all you have, spend it wisely. Learn something you wouldn’t have dreamt of otherwise. You have nothing to lose. If you are more focused (I really am not) you can take a CPA course or a statistical package of your choice. Learn SPSS or just Quickbooks, the job market needs them.
Or you can go the creative way and learn salsa or Karate. It’s normally free of charge and it filled up my Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, plus my Saturday afternoons. Your notice board will have calls for such. Plus the first week has final students advertising their clubs. Go get you a Pitch Perfect moment.
Run for an elective post
You won’t be a lesser human for not doing this, but apparently, it looks good on your resume and can launch your political career. Babu Owino, Ebakasi East mp and James Orengo, a senator in Kenya and Barrack Obama, all launched their careers from elective student council posts. Plus it will save you lots in campaign money if you do decide to pursue it further. Did I say it will polish your portfolio, that counts as experience?
Start a personal project/business
Our generation is so focused on making it before 24. That has to stop. Entrepreneurship is not the only way out, you can still prosper in your 9-5, some even thrive. But you see that dream you’ve always had; a fashion house, DIYs for sale, a bakery, or just a million dollar idea. This is the time to pitch it.
Your parents and friends will support it and if it’s something online like a blog or web design venture, they might never know. If it succeeds then well, you just created employment and financed our economy. If it doesn’t, then concentrate on your studies. You miss all the shots you don’t take, and I don’t mean vodka ones.
Learn a language
Forbes insists on three corporate benefits of learning a new language including improving your decision-making skills. The popularity doesn’t even matter as much as the chance to tap into new markets and flourish.
Spanish classes were free on my campus and I know for a fact Chinese is free elsewhere like Kenyatta University and Egerton. An extra language makes you more attractive to international firms or just fulfills your inquisitive nature. Spanish was so exhilarating it inspired me to take German classes during my long holidays (C1 Certification in months).
Learning a foreign language also makes exchange programs possible. If you are Afripolitan, then pick the resident language. A little bit of Kalenjin would have saved me on numerous occasions.
Read more, often
At this age, you basically soak up all the information you can and then some more. Find a genre you like, and read that. It doesn’t even have to be novels, find historicals, dissect Shakespeare, find some Ken Follet, read The Book of Negroes. Learn as much as you can, and then some more.
If you are digital, then go online, find information, learn about the political and economic state of our country. Do not be ignorant about the looming China Economic war, or the fact that AIDS might have been created in a lab. Okay, sorry about the conspiracy theories, but information is power and that’s awesome conversations. It also helps you make wise investments, Forex anyone?
Fail, it begets success
You know what I love about the above 7 things? That you can fail and it will never matter. So you come in second after an election, you suck at chess, your business fails. You realize you have two left feet and that German is extremely difficult… Just up and quit, no implications. Or you succeed and bliss.
Was this list helpful? Did I miss anything that made your days in college? I’d love to hear about it and how you spend/spent your days in college?