So it’s about that time of the year again, everyone is getting ready to head back to school or has already started. I just wanted to offer a few PRACTICAL words of wisdom for this new school year, whether you’re starting at a new level (Uni, High School etc) or continuing on in your education. I’m sure we’ve all got the “biblical” perspective shoved down our throats by now, but yeah….here’s some practical wisdoms…it’s aimed more at uni students, but I’m sure everyone can gain something from it.
- What To Do With Your Student Loan.
To be honest, this is a subject that is very dear to my heart, and I’ve heard some pretty foolish advice given to young people. I’ve heard people advise to “take it and use it to buy a house”. That’s all good, but do you have the means to up-keep a house (mortgage, repairs etc). I’ve heard people using their student loans to record albums and buy cars etc, but then they have no money for food or transport during the school year.
So, let me start by saying your student loan is for uni!. Sounds simple right? Start by making a budget. Specifically and accurately note down how much you NEED for university each month, and for the first semester (instalment of your maintenance loan). Subtract this amount from the amount the SLC is giving you. If you have money left over, thank God, that is all you have to “play with” for the semester. If you don’t, then you know you don’t have money to be just buying clothes, shoes, gadgets etc so relax.
Still on this “student loan” issue, let me say this: You don’t have to accept the maximum maintenance loan. Let’s say after you do your budget you realise you’ve got £600 left over. You can return the money to the SLC and that will be less debt that you are acquiring and need to pay back.
Also, if you’re getting a grant (free money that you don’t have to pay back), why do you still need a maintenance loan (money you have to pay back WITH interest)? If your grant will cover your expenses, I would advise that you don’t get any more debt than you need to.
So you’re in uni now, probably moving away home? Fantastic. Your education is now you life, your ministry, your job (you’re getting “paid” by the government to do it), your primary assignment. People will try and guilt trip you into still doing everything you used to do for them ON TOP OF your studies, and let me tell you, as a 4 year university student, it won’t work – your education will suffer. Put your head and foot down from the beginning and apply yourself AT ALL COSTS to your studies…your putting yourself in potentially minimum £6000 debt a year, (£20,000 total) and you want to walk away with a 3rd class degree? God forbid. Things, and visits, and concerts and certain leisures will have to be stripped away if you wish to succeed!
Simple point. If you aim for a 2.1, it’s possible you could get a 2.2 or even a 3rd. Aim or a 1st, and your changes of walking away with a 1st or at minimum a 2.1 are high.
- Find a church STRAIGHT AWAY
Don’t leave it too long, or it will never get done and you’ll find that as each Sunday goes past, it’s easier to “sleep in” on Sunday and not go to church than the week before.
- Sit at the FRONT of the lecture hall
I don’t mean this literally (in some sense), but a lecture hall is like a bus; the further back and higher you go, the more noise and distractions there are. If you notice all the “rowdy” kids sit at the back, don’t join them. They might be messing about and still get a 1st, while you’ll be “Miss Popular” and leave university with a 3rd.
- Befriend your lecturers and Personal Tutors.
TRUST ME! They will be the ones that fight for you in times when you could have failed. They can also end up giving you crucial exam tips come exam period. Also, nothing wrong with a little favouritism and favour if it’s going to help you!
Seriously, you won’t and cannot remember everything your lecturer will say in class. They might end up giving you exam tips and hints too, so pen and paper is useful lol. Find out from your university about audio recording lectures however, some universities only allow this if you have a disability…don’t go and put yourself in trouble!
- Find Out Your Uni Policies.
Some Universities have some funny rules i.e. attendance, submitting assignments a certain way (fonts, cover sheets, times etc). Find them out…it will save you a great deal of trouble…
On this point let me mention extenuating circumstances. Basically, if something drastic has happened to you near the time of an assignment deadline or exam, fill in an extenuating circumstance form. It’s like a formal request for “mercy” as they mark your papers….it can help a lot, trust me.
Having worked a job this summer that was involved in registering new student graduates in the professional world, I cannot stress this enough. These “little things” do catch up with you. Youthful outbursts can come back around and bite you in the butt! CRB checks see all!
- Make friends with students on your course in higher year groups.
They will give you advice, exam tips, lecturer tips, lecture tips, study tips, tips on what books to buy etc….just a whole heap of tips.
- Maximize your experience.
To be honest, your university years will be some of the best in your life if done correctly, also some of the hardest. You’ll need a good support group around you, so make good, wise, smart friends. Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy it though!
I’d like to leave you with Isaiah 50:7.
7 Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore, I have set my face like a stone,
determined to do his will.
And I know that I will not be put to shame. (NLT)
7 Because the Sovereign LORD helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame. (NIV)
FOCUS! God will help you, do not worry, do not be overwhelmed..
Love you all!