For some tweenagers and teenagers, this next month of July begins their long vacation before the next academic year begins. For some teenagers, it’s the end of their secondary education as they await their exam results that will usher them into tertiary educational institutions. The months of July and August (and September, in some cases) are for preparing for university (that’s college, for our USA-literate readers).
Here it comes, College!
Said preparation is usually a mixed bag of a flurry of activities, and they vary from person to person. While some are in the process of applying and waiting for their student visas (to study abroad), others, armed with their admission letters to universities right here in Ghana, are going through the motions of locating their halls of residences and paying all the attendant fees.
The bottom line is that the next few months are what I call ‘real-life season’, where for the first time in most teenagers’ lives, they will be ‘on.their.own…by themself!’ It can be exciting as it suggests a foretaste of ‘freedom’ from your parents’ guidance (known as ‘control’, to you), making a host of new friends in a new environment, sharing spaces with others, no curfew…yes, your newfound freedom knows no bounds, you believe.
Whether your real-life season is in Ghana or abroad, one fact remains though, that with freedom comes responsibilities. You do know what those are, right? Well, in university, notes-taking, reading texts, studying for exams, writing essays, and presenting research work include your responsibilities; as are time management, goal setting, and managing your money, you see.
So now that I have given a glimpse into what university life entails, I have a question for you. May I shoot?
How ready are you for college/university life?
Your high school years should provide you an abundance of opportunities to develop your problem-solving skills and maturity as you’ll require these to succeed in college. This is why you must, when in high school, take challenging courses that let you expand your academic competences to build on your future education goals.
Discovering your passions and getting involved in extracurricular activities during your high school years pay off in college as they groom your social skills and expose you to other skills that cannot be taught or learnt through your academic work.
From this day forth, as a high schooler, start making a list of the life skills you would (and should) like to learn, and keep adding to it.
- Cooking – let no one tell you otherwise. It sure is a life skill when you know how to save yourself from starvation. What’s your favourite meal? And what other basic meals should you keep at your fingertips to see you through college? Ask your parents or housekeeper to teach you, and begin to practise over weekends and holidays.
- Laundry: There are basics in doing this efficiently so your coloureds do not end up staining your whites. Who, at home, can teach you this? Because in university, no one will have the time to.
- Time management: Something as simple as learning to keep a ‘To-Do’ list can set you straight on this path.
- Be bilingual: It doesn’t matter what other language you learn to speak; it could be any Ghanaian language, for instance. The added benefit of being able to speak a Ghanaian language is how much depth it begins to give your oral and written communications.
- Others: What about how to set short-term goals and achieve them? Can a teacher or mentor help you with that? Or could you go online to research? How about personal safety, money management and world affairs?
Many skills you can learn by watching online tutorials in addition to getting the experience first-hand. Depending on how many life skills you want to learn before setting off to university, create a plan and set a goal — such as learning and practising one new skill every month.
While it may seem to you that your college years are far away, that season will be here before you know it! So, plan to make the most of the next couple of years, and you will be thankful when your diligence pays off in college, then life!