5 Steps to a Better Student Life in 2014

As post-matric celebrations become memories to treasure, this year’s school-leavers stand on the threshold of their next big life adventure – starting their post-school studies. Going from home and school to tertiary education and a new environment is daunting, and the University of Life is set to hand out a few unexpected lessons on the way.

“Unfortunately, the business of life and living sometimes overwhelms young people as they enter this new period. So much so, that the business of studying and achieving the longed-for qualification sometimes disappears into thin air, often with disastrous consequences,” says Dr Anne-Ka van den Hoek, Academic Manager at The Independent Institute of Education, South Africa’s largest and most accredited private higher education institution with 21 campuses throughout the country.

“It is therefore important that soon-to-be students get their heads in the right space, to create the healthy environment that will assist them in achieving the strong grades they intend to reap at the end of the year,” says Dr van den Hoek.

She says there are a few common sense resolutions that will stand new students in good stead and lay the foundation for success in 2014.

“By making some minor tweaks to the way you approach your daily life, and by committing yourself to steadfastly building new skills in achievable bit by bit chunks, you’ll soon start to feel more empowered in your daily endeavours,” says Van den Hoek.

“By all means, go all out to enjoy being a student and the wonderful new experiences this life stage brings, but at the same time, commit to taking at least one step towards self-empowerment and improvement every day. These small daily commitments will add up and, over the next three or four years, will accrue compound interest which will set you apart from your peers at the end of your studies.”

Van den Hoek says that these small acts of daily empowerment will translate into a more manageable life and environment, which will have a positive knock-on effect to many aspects of students’ lives, including their studies.

New students should promise themselves the following in 2014:

  • I will monitor the way I use my time. I will break up my free time into blocks allocated to relaxing with friends and family, to exercising my mind and body, and to following my passions. This will help me to find an appropriate balance between work and pleasure. 
  • I will write down the three things I should have done differently in my studies last year and check back each week that I am not falling into those habits again.
  • I will find at least one community-based activity to support, because I acknowledge that I have a responsibility to give back to those less fortunate than me.
  • I will take ‘one app at a time’, by learning one new technological skill (that is not about gaming or social media) every month, even if it is only the shortcut keys on my keyboard. It all adds up to making me more effective.
  • I will eat and exercise properly, not because I hope to be the centre of attention wherever I go, but because if I feel good and am healthy, I will look good, be more confident, and be able to deliver my best.

The Independent Institution of Education