Six things every Ghanaian university student should do

Six things every Ghanaian university student should do

Editor's note: YEN contributor, Daniel Dela Dunoo, writes on six things every university student should know in order to achieve success in today's competitive jobs environment. Find the article below:

For the many students who complete senior high school, a relatively small number make it to the university and other institutions of higher learning. The vast majority of graduates from the nation`s institutions of higher learning are faced with the challenge of unemployment. You obviously do not want to be a part of the statistics of unemployment. I will show you what you need to know and do to make the most of the opportunities afforded as a part of the university community.

1. Have a clear set of goals

Setting goals is a critical ingredient for sustainable success in any given field. It is prudent to have well thought-through goals for your academic pursuits and other facets of your life. Be clear on what you want to achieve within the short term (for every semester or trimester) and the long term (the entirety of your days in the university and beyond).

You may aim at completing all your term papers within schedule? Write it down. Be settled in your mind what you want to do with your life after university. Have a carefully kept record of all your goals and aspirations. Fine-tune and adjust them as and when the need arises (don`t be too quick to do so at every turn).

Your goals will have a bearing on the kinds of friends you make (and keep), the books you read, the places you go, the ventures you get involved in, the attitudes you develop and the habits you form. Don`t just go with the flow. Become a purpose-driven student.

2. Work at your goals assiduously

A clear set of goals alone has no value. It`s worth is demonstrated when it is pursued with passion. What goals will do for you is to narrow and sharpen your focus; to help channel your energies towards the fulfillment of same.

Keep your goals in focus and put in the work to realize these goals. If it is your goal to graduate with first class honours, it will be in your best interest to maximize your time rather then wile away time. You ought to invest your time, finances and energies towards the attainment of this goal. Don`t give up if you fail. Get right up and keep going.

3. Read beyond your field of study

Many students are simply content with reading literature related to their course of study. There are even students who read bits and pieces of material related to their areas of specializations so as to do assignments and pass examinations.

Their overarching goal is to have a certificate that will brighten their future job prospects. But that should not be you. You are bigger and smarter than this. Patronize the university library (or libraries, where applicable) more often than not. Become a voracious reader. By all means, work hard at your studies. Study your course materials to the best of your abilities but go beyond this; read wide.

Read books and access other resources that may have a bearing on your goals in life. You may be studying the same courses with your peers but you would be ahead of them by far, principally because you read beyond what they read. You will broaden your horizons, enlarge your knowledge base and engage with a multiplicity of ideas that may exert a positive influence on your education, career and other facets of your life.

4. Study to understand and practice

Do not study merely to pass your examinations or to graduate with distinction. Do not study merely to win awards. Yes, it is great to excel academically. You should by all means work towards that. However, academic excellence should not be your sole motivation. Neither should your sole motivation be to land a good job after school.

Study for life. Study to such an extent as to possess deep insights into your field of study. Your academic pursuits will have immense practical value only if you truly understand the knowledge and ideas you engage with. Be practically oriented. Think solutions; consider how the knowledge you acquire can be applied to meet a need or to provide a solution to a prevailing challenge in your life and society.

5. Start a business venture

Very few students ever contemplate beginning a business venture while still in school. However, it will interest you to note that some of the world`s successful brands were began by university students. The likes of Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Wordpress, Time magazine, Dell and several others were began by university students. You can too. One of my greatest regrets has been my failure to commercialize my writing while in school. I took it for granted I was being sponsored by my parents through school and that I will land a job shortly after school. Well, I was woefully mistaking about the latter.

It is crucial you write down ideas you may chance upon during lectures, interactions with others and while engaged in some of the mundane activities of life. Think through these ideas and discuss them with like-minded people if need be. This will help sharpen your ideas.

Conduct Google searches around your ideas. While you engage with the thoughts and ideas of brilliant minds of centuries gone by and of those in our day and age, you will be afforded the tools required to build a successful business.

Start your business around your area of interest and strength, and with a well structured plan. Start where you are and with the little resources you can muster. Learn from others. Grow your business with tenacity and focus. If need be, partner with like-minded students to kick-start your business. Some have done it and have made significant strides.

6. Network strategically

Don`t just make friends with just anyone. Be purpose-driven about the people you interact with. Work on building a network of individuals of similar (or related) passions and pursuits on campus and off campus. This will afford you the privilege of learning from them and sharing your knowledge (and expertise) with them. Such networks may also get you through certain doors you hitherto could never have gone through in your educational and career pursuits.

Make the most of your days in school. Give your studies your very best efforts. I trust that the ideas I have thus far shared will inure to your benefit in no small measure in so far as you put them to work as you sojourn through the corridors of academia.

The writer, Daniel Dela, is afreelance writer/editor, blogger and published author.

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