Passing on the lesson of university life

Since my university years is drawing to an end soon, and the university has recently rejected my offer to do peer mentoring because i couldnt come back on time, I will pass on these lessons here on my blog for junior students out there in Melbourne.

I am currently doing Master of Business in Monash and i am finishing my course at the end of this year, and here is some tip i have to say. (Some of these recommendations may be more relevant to people doing commerce)

1. Planning and Choosing Your Course

As somebody who have been through the trouble of making the wrong choice when i was  younger and ended up not really liking what I did in undergrad (which is science), this is something that i wish to tell students who are deciding your course of study. I only have one thing to tell you, and that is to follow your heart.

No matter what any of your friends, colleagues, parents, in-laws or education counsellor said, choosing what you like to do is far more important than choosing what you are good at. Sometimes you can be good at a certain subject, and thus thinks that my life is destined to be etc etc, because you are good at that current subjects. But you will soon realize that down the line, unless you can truly love and enjoy the subject and related topics to your course beyond your university education, you will never find true satisfaction.

A wise lecturer once said, the things you learn in uni are what makes you smart, but it is the things you learn beyond uni that makes you rich.

I find that there is a lot of truth in that simple line, in more ways than one, although rich is one good side effects. You will also come to understand your education to its full extent, and realize truly what does it imply, and brings your knowledge beyond uni to the classroom and share it with others of similar passion. You will come to not only appreciate, but also apply the principles in the things you do in daily life. Uni are meant to be education you can apply in the real world, and it is, but you need to be able to like the subjects to be able to grow your knowledge in your area of study on your own and one day, comes to see how you can apply those skills.

Finally, financial-wise, the modern world offers just about every job there is an almost equal opportunity. It is no longer only the accountants, the financial analysts, or the doctors that can make a decent living, but also anyone else who are proficient and passionate about their work.

I have come to see many of my college friends who are starting all kinds of careers, many of which are completely unrelated to their field of work, and enjoyed some amazing success. A few of the highlights are friends who have started to be a professional photographer, a tattoo artist, a fashion trend-setter, a professional blogger, search-engine guru, and a graphic artist. Neither of them study anything in this fields, but the income they earn from these interests and hobbies, have probably eclipsed their main job (if they hold any).

The lesson here is, as long as you can put that passion you have on your interest, it does not matter what you do, the money will come eventually. It might take a while, but eventually people will recognize you and your work and how passionate you are at it.

2. When in Uni, plan ahead and be aware of the resources the university is giving you

I cant stress enough, how important it is to have a plan and stick to the plan in university. It is written in my guidebook that assignments due simultaneously, on the same day, are a fact of university life.

Allow sufficient time for you to be able to do a proper research prior to the assignment and allow yourself time to think through it before you begin writing. The amount of research and the time you spent thinking about the subject will be apparent in the work that you submit. I am not an advocate of recycling old assignment. I feel that university is an opportunity for you to be able to have time to fully learn, and grow in your thinking, and you should always aim to complete an assignment that you feel is challenging and difficult. There is no point doing an assignment that you or other people have done, and you are almost guaranteed to have a solid average mark for it. If you want to do well in uni, do something that you know other people will struggle to do and do not be afraid when you have made that choice.

Extra Tip There is also a very important trick if you are studying business in Monash and here it is.

Word counts on your assignment guidelines are arbitrary. If you really want to say what you want to say, and you feel that it adds value to the overall quality of your assignment, do not be afraid to write it down. It is recommended that whatever data you can pile into a table, pile it into a table. As for the rest, just type it in.

In my 1 and half years of Master so far, i have not submitted a single assignment that does not go over the word limit by at least 500 words. In some extreme cases i wrote almost double the word limit, from 2500 to 5000 or from 3000 to 6500. I have NOT been marked down.

I have however been marked down because lecturer felt that there is a critical missing piece of information that i needed to write but didnt, simply because i was afraid i would get marked down by the word limit. It is therefore more important to write a complete assignment rather than writing an assignment with missing critical pieces of information.

Finally, when you are in university be aware of the wealth of resources that are available throughout your course and use it as much as possible. These are some of them

– The university library, online journals, and important software such as bloomberg computer, or microsoft project professional

-The university health and wellbeing center. They offer important information on how to manage your stress and how you can diagnose early an onset of burnout or stress.

-The university career centre. They provide tip on how to write your resume and cv, use it. They also provide information on what jobs are available on the university website.

-Consultation with your lecturer. Your lecturer are people who are passionate at their field of study, and i have always left a consultation session with more than what i need to ask, and this will help you form a clearer picture of learning

– Clubs and societies. Many clubs and societies in uni are useful, and they offer you the opportunity to get involved in uni and meet friends, as well as learn skills that will otherwise be hard to learn in your current field of study e.g. photography and investing

– Computer labs and study labs access after hours

– University public seminar and public lecture. Find out what is happening when and make a booking to attend! They are worthwhile.

3. Group work

Many subjects in the field of business and commerce requires you to have groupwork. These are some tips to do well in group work:

-Attend your first 2 tutorial class, when the groups are assigned. Most importantly, prepare well for these 2 early class. Early class are like interviews, everyone is seeing how everyone else performs in class, to see whether they will be willing to work with you or not. If you prepare well for class and are diligent enough, it will show, and it will be easier for you to recruit people whom you want to be in your group because you know they wont be disappointed working with you. If you can get the first pick of people in your group, chances are you will do well in the group work (but not always)

– In the event that the group does not perform as well as you expected it to be, always be flexible and be ready to cover up for them. Allows for compromise. Unless some people are total dead weight, which some of them are, the marks you lost in your subject will be more than made up for the friends you make when you compromise a little so that they can fulfill their other obligations.

4. Have fun and make lots of friends

Finally, i also want to say that university is a time for you to have fun and enjoy the university life. 

Make friends with people, meet-up with them from time-to-time and always keep in touch with your friends from last semester, or whom had left uni to go to other country.

One last thing to say is that, always try to help your friends, in whatever capacity you can, in whatever problems they may be facing in their life and recognize people for their strengths.

You can name it whatever you want, but good things will happen to people who do good, and the friends you make in your university life is far more important than the grades you will get, and this reason is good enough for you to compromise and cover-up when you could. Not many people will get far in life simply relying on their marks and intelligence. Your friends and acquaintances and what they can testify of your character will go a long way to help you in your life, away from uni, and that is priceless.


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