It takes the whole first year for the students to get used to all the novelty of university life i.e. new people, new friends, new teachers, etc. Festivities like orientation parties, cultural programmes, celebrations of national days like Pohela Falgun, Boshonto Utshob, Pohela Boishakh, Puja celebrations, etc. from the very beginning keep students quite occupied.
Amidst all these, students forget that they have to get hold of their academic life from the start and also do some extracurricular activities that might help them go some extra miles in their career. There are quite a few things that university students need to do to secure a better future for themselves before it is too late.
Basic computer skills are required for surviving university life since there are tons of assignments and presentations every semester. While preparing those, students master the most basic computer skills all by themselves. However, things become problematic when academic tasks do not need that much effort. Such a loose situation makes students clumsy and they do not try to learn something new or explore advanced levels of what they have already learnt.
Preparing a term-paper often does not require advanced level skills of Microsoft softwares and other applications. Nevertheless, students should opt for learning these more professionally which will surely be an asset for them in their career. Also, learning to use web and social media apps, graphic design, video editing, logo designing, etc. takes one miles ahead of his/her competitor. These depend on the type of job field one is interested in or involved in. In most of the cases, students realise this during their final year of academic life which is often too late.
Tasnuva Rahman, a third-year student of BBA in BRAC University never learnt those basic and handy computer skills properly. Now that she is in a more crucial stage of her academic career, she is facing difficulties in completing her semesters as all sorts of usage of computer and tech based applications and softwares have increased. "I am trying to devote more time to learn those computer skills because I see no other alternative to it right now," said the worried girl. Hence, it is always recommended to work for personal development before it is too late.
University life is the most suitable period of one's life to pursue all kinds of extracurricular activities. Every university has different clubs and associations like debating club, career club, MUN club, cultural club, study club, quiz club, film society, tourist society, music club, sports club, etc. Joining these clubs brings great benefits for a student. Having experience in doing club activities adds value to one's CV. Through the events held by the clubs, students get the opportunity to enhance their communication skills, organising skills, public speaking, presentation skills, networking among seniors-juniors and students from other clubs and departments,.
Nafisa Sultana, a student of Sociology at Chittagong University, started participating in extracurricular activities in order to develop public speaking and communication skills when she was a third year student. "I should've started these activities from the first year itself," sighs Nafisa. No wonder most of the students regrets not participating in any club activities or competitions towards the end of their graduation.
Preparing for post-graduation abroad
"I should've started the preparations way earlier. I'm having hard time handling both the pressure of my final year and the pressure of post grad preparations," says a regretful Abdullah Mahir Masud, a fourth-year student of Economics at Dhaka University, who is preparing himself to get enrolled in foreign universities to pursue his master's degree. However, he only started taking preparations for that from the middle of his final year of graduation. Attempting to study abroad involves a lot of wise steps like choosing the right universities, the right programmes, the necessary courses, a good professor etc. And tests like GRE and SAT take rigorous practice.
The most common steps involved in preparing for studying abroad are taking the IELTS, GRE, GMAT, SAT, TOEFL etc. These are the courses and exams students are required to pass in order to be eligible for applying to foreign universities. Oftentimes, students think that they would get enough time to prepare for these tests after they are done with their academics. This is a common mistake. By the time they are done with their academics, they run out of time to make sufficient preparation for the tests. Syllabus for these tests are not very brief or limited.
For example, in order to be well prepared for passing the IELTS, SAT, GRE, etc. with good scores, one has to have excellent command over English vocabulary and spoken English. Besides, algebra, arithmetic, geometry, analytical writing, etc. are required to be mastered.
Learning a language
University life or not, learning a second or third language is always a great idea for anyone. Whenever there is an opportunity to learn a language, it should be grabbed. While English being the universal language, there are a few other essential languages that may come in handy in both Bangladesh and other foreign countries, for example French, Mandarin, Spanish, Arabic, German, Japanese, etc.
French is spoken in 34 countries in the world, Arabic in around 25, and Spanish in 21. Having command over a foreign language is appreciated by recruiters, thus making the resume heavier. And for studying abroad, knowing a second language of targeted countries makes both academic and career life much easier and well appreciated. University years are the best time to learn another language when there is still time between classes, terms and semesters, alongside academic studies. Nevertheless, this is another thing that most students realise when it is already late.
Networking is an essential activity in university life. Networking can be done through clubs and institutional events. This is required for multiple purposes. Building a network brings a student a strong sense of community and fraternity. It also creates the opportunity of getting strong recommendations from professors due to the well acquaintance. Also, having good relations with industry people lets one learn about the industry he/she is going to work in. Hence, networking should not be confined to the university premises only.
The writer is a third year student of Department of Mass Communication and Journalism at Dhaka University.