Your success at university will be determined by the mental attitude that you bring with you. Staying positive, focussed and self-motivated will be essential skills you need to learn. Making this a conscious process will put you in far better position towards being successful. There are some very easy and clear steps that you can take now to help you on your way.
When you change from school to University there is a massive shift in so many aspects of your life. You are on the road to becoming independent and will have so many choices ahead of you in all aspects of your life.
At home you have to live by other people’s rules; the rules of your parents, the rules of your family, the rules of your school, the rules of your culture or place of worship. These rules have shaped who you are today so far, but now you are starting a phase in your life when you decide what you want to do and when you want to do it.
In every aspect of your new life you will have choices. You can now choose when you want to get up, what you should eat for breakfast, what you should wear. You can choose whether or not you attend classes, whether you exercise or do your homework or put in extra time to study.
Now at first this may seem brilliant, as you don't have to tidy your bedroom when your mum is nagging you or you don't have to go and visit family friends that you don't want to. Living away from home can be liberating, but with choice comes responsibility. You will have more independence, but it is very easy to get distracted and side-tracked from your purpose of being at university.
You can also choose who you want to be friends with, and this is such an important decision as they will have a big influence on how you will spend your next few years at university.
At home you tend to mix in the same social circles and it's quite a narrow field but if you go to University they'll be people from all over the country or maybe even all over the world and it's a fantastic opportunity for you to broaden your horizons and grow as an individual. You will meet people from all different walks of life that you would never have had the chance to come into contact with previously.
If you have come from a home where your mum has always done your washing and cooked all your meals and has been your personal taxi service and picked you up and dropped you off from all your school and social activities you may assume that everybody has lived like that.
Some people may have had to cook their own meals from an early age, others may have divorced parents and they have to split their time between two homes. Some people may have to have a job to pay for their education, others may have had to care for a sick relative. Everyone’s experience and outlook on life and their values will be very different. One of the many wonderful things about University is meeting lots of people and expanding your horizons and your outlook on life.
Before you start your university journey, it is useful to stop and consider what you stand for.
Think about the values that you feel are important. For example, you may think it is important to be kind and to be generous. You may think it's important to be ambitious or to be determined. It might be important for you to help other people, it might be important for you to make a lot of money.
You may think that every one should be treated equally. If you do believe that everyone should be treated equally, then you may feel that everyone thinks the same way. But not everyone does otherwise the ‘isms’ in the world would not exist, such as racism, sexism or bigotism.
Next think about the actual activities you like doing. For example you may think it’s important to get up at 6:00 o'clock in the morning and exercise. You may think it's important to make your bed every day. You may think it’s important to study every day or you might think it's important to have a hobby outside of your studies, you may think it's important to pray daily.
It does not matter what it is just have a think about what your true beliefs are – just write them down – a free-flow stream of consciousness, don’t overthink it, just write it down.
Think of it like writing your manifesto. If you wanted to send a message out to the world about who you are and what your values are and what you represent, what would you say? You can think of this as your ‘Declaration of Independence’ as you leave home.
Look at your list when you have completed and go through item and really think hard about whether it is something that you believe in, or is it a value that you have been told to believe in and you have just accepted it. It does not matter, you do not have to cross anything off, but it is your first step in understanding who you are.
This list will be different for each and every one of you. It is easy to assume that other people in the world will see the world exactly as you do but this is so not the case.
This list is not set in stone. As you go through the next few years some things will probably change, but having an anchor point at this time in your life will be so powerful on your journey to becoming truly independent.
There will be times when University gets tough and when you feel overwhelmed. There will be times when you are stressed and finding it difficult to study. There will be times when you miss home and when you feel lonely. There will be times when you miss your friends and there may be times when you feel it is difficult to make new friends.
Your manifesto will keep you focussed and grounded. This list will help you stay positive. Go back to this list and remember who you are, remember what you stand for. Remember and keep within you the spirit that has got you here so far.
This list is the true essence of you. It is light that you want to shine out to the world to let them know that you have arrived as your own independent person. You are going to be amazing.