Making the Most of Your Campus Time
As a campus student, there is a lot of time in your hands besides classwork. Essentially, the campus stage presents you with a lot of time and opportunities, which would spring you to a great life ahead when leveraged. Conventionally, the first thought that comes into mind when the term ‘campus’ is mentioned is freedom. With freedom, you can choose to drink, smoke, party all night, and travel to wherever without anyone limiting your choices and movements. You can do anything and be anything. Currently, even though the world is undergoing a significant reset due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still a lot that you can do to make the most out of your campus time once physical learning resumes.
Connections / Comradeship
While studying at the college or university, you shall meet people from all walks of life. The essence of university education is to promote diversity and inclusion. It is a training ground for how you will set out at life; hence, you ought to forge healthy connections with other comrades. You never know where you will need the connections after graduation.
Research indicates that most of the lifelong friendships are formed in campus.1 Therefore, it is important to take your time to make connections worth maintaining for a lifetime while in campus. Essentially, forging lifelong relationships is like maintaining a bank account; the more you keep in touch, the more the friendship lasts. Do not just lock up yourself in your room and the library. Make time for establishing and maintaining new connections.
Attend Campus Events
Even if you are the extreme introvert ever known on earth, it is vital to challenge yourself to attend campus events. There are different types of events. The most common types of events are corporate-based events and entertainment-based events. Corporate-based events are vital in allowing you to know how the workplace systems operate. They also enable you to tune your mindset towards the establishment of your career. Here, you also make meaningful connections and learn of great opportunities that would be vital in launching your career.
On the other hand, entertainment-based events are vital in making you a sociable person. The current world cherishes Emotional Quotient (EQ) over Intelligence Quotient (EQ). However, this does not imply that you disregard IQ. Essentially, EQ is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict, while IQ measures your level of intelligence. One of the ways of building your EQ is by being sociable. The entertainment-based events are vital in breaking mental blocks that hold you back from maximizing your social impact and influence. Entertainment also helps you unwind from the stress encountered while studying. It is said that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So, work hard and play harder.
Learn a new skill
Even before COVID-19 struck, there had been online forums for building one’s skillset. However, COVID-19 has transformed the learning and interaction landscape, with many activities being integrated to encompass online capabilities. There is a lot of free time in campus besides study time, whereby you can schedule yourself to learn a new skill. These skills are often transferable. The current workplace landscape needs individuals with transferable skills. Therefore, the more you acquire new skills based on current and emerging trends, the higher your chances of landing more jobs. There exist online sites for learning new skills for free such as Coursera, Harvard Online Learning, Edx, MicrosoftLearn, Khan Academy, and Code Academy. On completion of the short courses, one is handed a proficiency certificate vital when seeking new jobs.
YouTube is also where you can acquire new skills such as baking, data analysis, interior design, video editing, et cetera for free. Research shows that most people acquired new skills via YouTube and the other online sites during lockdown and most of these skills have been turned into successful businesses while others have landed new jobs.2 So, besides getting entertained on YouTube, take the time to acquaint yourself with new skills.
Clubs exist for a reason. Clubs enable comrades with similar interests to gather together and partake in shared activities vital for their social advancement. As a comrade, make it a point to be a member of a club. Clubs also provide a platform to hone your leadership skills. As office-bearer of the club, you are accorded the opportunity to exercise leadership. The organization of club activities through coordination of the club’s members is a vital skill that most hiring personnel search for when selecting prospective employees.
Examples of common clubs with a national outlook include AIESEC, Rotaract, Kenya Model United Nations (KMUN), and the President’s Award Kenya Club. Campus-based clubs can be religious-based, for instance, Christian Union (CU), Young Catholic Students (YCS), and Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) club; faculty-based clubs, for example, Accounting Club, Finance Club, Science Club, IT Club, Environment Club, Music Club, Medicine Club, Engineering Club, and Journalism Club; sports-based clubs, for instance, Football Club, Hockey Club, Rugby Club, Basketball Club, Swimming Club, Athletics Club, and Karate Club to mention a few. Club membership enables you to learn the art of teamwork. Moreover, being a member of a sports-based club is crucial in enabling you to learn how to plan for victory, handle defeat, and portray your ability to be active outside classwork.
One of the most important skills one can ever learn while in campus is making money via side hustles. Campuses have a large number of comrades in need of different products and services. Entrepreneurship is a mindset. While in campus, train your eyes to see, your ears to hear, and your mind to be keen on what the comrades need. After identifying comrade needs, save some money and launch your side hustle. As a guide, the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) loan you receive is not just for self-sustenance; it also ought to be invested in side hustles. Plan your finances to enable you to launch your side hustle besides spending on necessities.
One of the most common businesses that would enable you to make a killing while on campus is the food business. Offering a rich menu full of various delicious foods at a bargain price would make you lots of money. However, as a precaution, ensure you serve healthy food prepared in hygiene conditions to avoid food poisoning. Another typical side hustle is the clothes business. In this business, a comrade wakes up early to go to the large markets such as Gikomba to select trendy clothes for low prices. They then come up and sell it at a marked-up price and then reinvest the profits gained as a mechanism for expanding the businesses. These are just some of the side hustles that one can pursue in campus. Other common side hustles include printing; barbershop, salon, nail art business; M-PESA and mobile banking agent business; computer hardware and repair business; electronics; anti-virus removal and other software maintenance business. So, get up and get thinking of how you can solve comrade business.
Know Your Lecturers Besides Just Class Work
Forging connections with your lecturers besides classwork is essential. The reason for this is to ensure that they recognize you well away from academics. The relationship is also vital for building your connections. From personal experience, I know of comrades who got recommended for attachment positions and also when seeking entry-level jobs courtesy of having a cordial relationship with their lecturers.
Also, when one is seeking to apply for specific jobs or advancing their studies, one of the primary requirements for the referee section is that one of the persons recommending you ought to be an academic. In this case, the lecturer whom you know well would be an excellent fit to recommend you. Thus, even when you miss classes, take time to form cordial relationships with your lecturers to expand your connection pool and career leverage.
Make use of notice boards
In all public campuses, there are no assemblies like high school. Therefore, one of the primary ways of knowing what is happening around campus is frequently checking the noticeboards. Hence, ensure that you have at least checked the noticeboards to be acquainted with important notifications and opportunities by the end of each day. As a precaution, there is information that is not shared in WhatsApp groups that end up being posted on the noticeboards. Thus, make use of both the online forums and offline platforms to source vital information about campus events and trends.
In hindsight, being aggressive, having increased awareness, and being open to new experiences are some of the vital qualities to possess while in campus. Also, being a sociable person is what makes you leverage your time in campus. As a precaution, being antisocial would not help you anywhere. If your temperance is introversion, challenge yourself to be more proactive in social situations because you never know that the people you meet hold the key to your next level. Moreover, ensure that you strike a balance between academics and interactions because you also need the good grades. Most importantly, be sociable, always be interested in others but be principled at the same time. Remember, your network is net-worth. Only then would you make the most of your campus time.
Happy interaction, comrades!
1Sparks, G. (2007, August 7). Study shows what makes college buddies lifelong friends. https://www.purdue.edu/uns/x/2007b/070807SparksFriendship.html.
2Robson, D. (2020, April 19). Online learning: How to acquire new skills during lockdown. https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/apr/19/online-learning-how-to-acquire- new-skills-during-lockdown.