Jobs and work experience, Lectures, Living away from home, Studying, Third year

20 Things I have learnt about education in 20 years

Hello everyone! Sunday was my 20th birthday.

To celebrate this milestone, I will be writing 3 blogs titled “20 Things I have XXXXX”. This is the first. Hope you enjoy it.

1. Learning is an eternal process. I have always been interested in gaining knowledge and becoming wiser as I age. One thing I have learnt is, learning is a continuous process. I often watch youtubers asking “what was the point of learning maths, why did we have to learn useless things?”. I disagree. I do not think the things we learn at any point in our lives are useless. You never know where you may end up and the knowledge we gain is important.
2. Learning is hard. If it came easy, it would not be worth it. No pain no gain.
3. If you work hard enough, you will get it. I know we are not all gifted in the same ways but that does not mean you cannot achieve some level of understanding in certain subjects. Last year, I struggled so much with organic chemistry. I could see no success beyond 40%. I performed poorly in semester one but by semester two, things got slightly better and I did even better in the exams. I am not saying you will definitely go from 40% to 100%. I mean you can do better.
4. “Education is overrated” is the “falsest” statement I have ever heard. Education is not just about maths or science or English. Education is learning. Even learning to love is education. Without education, some of the greatest technologies we have would not exist today.
5. Never say I cannot do it. Do not limit yourself by saying “I can’t” “I give up”. Keep going, keep fighting. Learning gets better. It does get harder but so long as you are willing, you can do it.
6. It is okay to take a break. Obviously, I am an advocate for university education. However, if you feel it is not for you, don’t do it. Do not rush and get a degree you do not want just because you feel pressured. Take your time. If you are studying here already and feel it is too much, it is okay to take a break. The university has a great support network to help you with that.
7. Not knowing what to do is normal. Do not worry about not knowing what you will do when you graduate. The future is not certain. In my first year, I had big plans. I was always worried about what I would do when I graduate. I spent hours making plans, not sleeping etc. It just was not healthy.
8. Despite the above though, some planning is essential. Having educational and career goals in life is important. Debt is real. While enjoying university, try to have some goals and ideas. Planning is effective when done in moderation.
9. Not everyone will like what you have to say. It’s part of life. For example, I believe maths is very important. Some people may disagree and that is okay.
10. Some people will be jealous of you because you perform better than them. Do not let that bother you. But do not rub it in. some of your course-mates may feel intimidated by that.
11. The opposite also applies. Do not feel ashamed or bad because others perform better than you academically. learning is an individual process and take it at your own speed, the way you like it. Do not compare yourself with others. You may be performing poorly in chemistry yet be a fantastic artist.
12. It is okay to ask for help from others (lecturers, friends, tutors etc). One thing I really struggled with was asking for help when I did not understand certain principles. I always felt embarrassed that I was learning at a slower pace than others so, I did not ask for help.
13. Do what works best for you. When I moved to the UK, I realised I did not understand the methods other students used in their calculations. In vain I struggled to copy them. After some time, I embraced my unique calculation methods. If you learn better using PowerPoints or textbooks or making songs, go for it!
14. Procrastination is real. Try not to get into the habit of procrastination. It gradually develops into laziness. For tips on how to overcome laziness, read my other blog.
15. Enjoying the moment is essential. In the past, I often dwelled on the future so much that I did not enjoy my present. I then spent time missing the moments I did not have. School, college and university are to be enjoyed. I do not think the purpose of school is to torment young kids.
16. Do let your parents/peers or even teachers pressure you into doing what you do not want to do. Do not study medicine because your parents want you to be a doctor. Study what you want to study. Do what you love. Like I said before education is a lifelong process. You do not want to be stuck doing something you do not love to please others.

These last three relate to my experiences in Cardiff.

17. Discipline is essential. I am currently on a year abroad and I am struggling to juggle everything. My schedule is too flexible and having self-control to do things as I should…. is a struggle. But I am sure once I get the hang of things, it will be worth it.
18. Paying attention to lecturers is a key to success. Every year you will get lecturers who literally tell you what to expect in the exams. Being disobedient students, we tend to ignore them. This results in, spending the last three days before exams trying to remember what they said. Do not get into that cycle.
19. No lectures are not compulsory, but attendance will determine how you perform in exams. There is no such a thing as I will catch up at home. Unless you are genuinely ill or have genuine reasons, do not miss a lecture.
20. Time flies. I am already in year 3. It was just yesterday when I set my foot in Cardiff. Time needs to be spent wisely. 24 hours a day is long enough. How you spend your time will set you apart from your competitors in the job industry.

Thank you for reading. Comment below with other lessons on education. 🙂

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