Don’t take that Uber: on building some self-discipline.
I have the opinion that students severely underestimate the amount of self-discipline and self-sufficiency that they’ll need at university. Do note that this claim is not at all based on any official study – just taken from my own experience, so of course it is needless to say that this will depend from person to person; each individual has a different upbringing to another and I believe that this makes the biggest impact on someone’s self-reliance.
If you’re anything like me, you might also say that your parents/carers had prepared you well enough practically to survive the day-to-day swing of things (but like me, you might also not have had to do all that much daily in the family household). So what didn’t particularly occur to me was the consistency that I’d have to exercise in order to not feel overwhelmed.
The simple mundane acts like taking the bus earlier instead of an Uber, washing dishes and clothes, and even more important: putting them away(!) – so obvious that it feels odd typing them out, but very much overlooked by most of my flatmates when I was a fresher… and by me!
It’s saddening, really, that it took me 21 years to figure out that it’s not about being at your 100% all the time; it’s about showing up and putting at least 60% in, then learn from the 40% that wasn’t there. In fact, being at your maximum can be mentally- and emotionally-degrading, the degree of which obviously depending on the person in question. All of this is to say that there is always room for improvement! There is the ‘triangle of success’ which outlines the three things that people, or yourself, use(s) to assess your overall ability:
Though it is ideal to have all the components of the ASK triangle under your toolbelt, it is much more practical to accept that only the crème de la crème really have all three boxes ticked, people who have the experience in order to merit the recognition of all three.
For university students, with our still-growing minds and personalities, I believe it is best to frame it not as striving for mediocrity, but as being humanly consistent at the clear majority of the specifications.
After all, no lecturer ever expected any student to already know everything that they teach, same goes with work experience supervisors; everyone academically and professionally superior to us expects us to make mistakes and should be willing to guide and support us during this journey of self-improvement (as cliché as that sounds). Speak of the devil, as a 3rd year Chemistry student during my placement year, I am currently experiencing this myself (more on this in a future blog post)!
That is why it is so important for me to stress that taking advantage of your time at university is key to maximising your personal development. This is probably one of the only few opportunities we will have as young people fortunate enough to be in higher education in order to grow and learn about being more self-reliant and self-disciplined among many other ‘soft’ skills, whilst also still have the confidence to be courageous because most trip-ups can be supported by a form of pastoral service from the university (as long as we actively seek these services, of course).
Passiveness was passable in sixth-form and prior. However, as the general job market grows increasingly more competitive through the years with more people going to university and getting good degrees, it is critical now more than ever to be proactive and look for open doors; and if fate isn’t too kind, to look for windows – or even politely but assertively knock to introduce yourself, if those aren’t available either!
The University of Warwick has support systems in place in order to help their students get the best out of their few years here – please do utilise these. As some may say, proactivity leads to productivity!
And again, stay golden 😊