Small entrepreneur, Abram Molelemane, reflects on his time a as a student, and how the skills and disciplines he acquired there, have stood him in good stead in his business pursuits.
In my experience, the most valuable learning while attending university wasn’t academic. They were all about people, where I gained social skills, respect, self-worth, empathy, and realising my own potential. On the sports field, I learned about winning and losing graciously. In the classroom, I learned that doing your best counted far more than academic ability.
The life lessons you learn in university aren’t learned in classrooms, but through your university experience. And because of teachers and lecturers who believed in me, I also learned that I was capable of more than I thought.
The important life lessons I learned then have now become deeply ingrained values that serve me well as I engage with clients and suppliers:
Good communication skills
The most important thing about attending university is being able to show other people what you know. Some of this is done by dint of writing, but a large portion is done by other means including oral presentations, visual communication, or discussion of one kind or another. As a result, your communication skills are honed in the process. Good communication skills are also learned through interacting with other students. The way you communicate affects your career opportunities and your relationships.
Conflict resolution skills
I learned the value of good conflict resolution skills when I had to deal with a roommate. We had different values and habits and just didn’t get along. In university, you learn how to deal with these types of situations. This skill is valuable later, when, for example you struggle with a co-worker.
This core skill is learnt at school when we make time to attend classes, to prepare for tests, to do laundry and groceries, to hang out with our friends, and participate in extra curriculum activities such as sport or choir. With the skill of organization comes discipline and taking responsibility.
Tertiary education allows for a bit of an identity crisis; it throws you into a whole new world of opportunities where no one is looking over you shoulder telling you what to do. Many people gain a clear vision for their future, as they are constantly learning about the world in which they live and about themselves. University allows you to truly discover who you are and who you want to be.
Budgeting and saving money
A valuable skill set one picks up as a student is managing finances. Chances are that most of your pocket money goes off to covering basic living expenses, so a budget is essential.
Just about everyday, you learn how to spend your money by prioritising what’s important. Learning to budget and saving money on a monthly basis while you are still in school, teaches you how to spend your money wisely. These lessons in responsibility will come in handy when you start working, whether as an intern or in a permanent job.
Perhaps for the first time in your life, everything is your responsibility: food, laundry, completing assignments and submitting them on time. Your actions too, good or bad. Your parents can’t cover for you. Responsibility is a difficult but essential lesson to learn.
Attending university gives you an opportunity to meet new people, explore career options and to experience being away from home.
You gain a sense of independence by making your own decisions. You learn to manage work, study, and money in order to supply the things you may need while living on campus. You make friends with people you had no idea you would connect with. You get a better understanding of other’s views. You do things you never imagined you would do.
Going to university is the best thing you could do. Staying home and not getting a higher level of education makes no sense and you only suffer in the long run.
For tips on how to survive at tertiary, consult Your First Year of Varsity: a Survival Guide for University and College by Shelagh Foster and Lehlohonolo Mofokeng. Read this book review from the June issue, because everyone ought to get higher education if they can. Through this period of attending a tertiary institution, we learn some of life’s most precious lessons. They might break us. More likely, they make us.
Abram Molelemane is a proud youth entrepreneur following his passion for media, video and speaking sense with clarity and vibrancy. He is the founder and managing director of Godfella Productions Studios. Find Godfella Productions Studios on Facebook, follow him on twitter @Amolelemane or @GodfellaGps1, or connect with him on LinkedIN, Abram Godfella Molelemane.