Congratulations on gaining admission to the Premier University. This is the hub of academic excellence. Facts not brag!
The University of Ghana is ranked number one in Ghana by the Webometrics 2022 University Rankings.
Therefore, you made the best decision in accepting to enroll at “Okponglo Harvard”.
Joining a university campus for the first time as a student can be challenging. Every second, you fight the urge to call home, pack your bags and leave into your comfortable nest (home). The struggles of locating lecture halls, maintaining academic standards, forming new friendships, and having a sense of belonging to the university community can be tough.
As freshmen, you enter the university with high expectations and motivation, however, many are driven into performing instead of truly learning. As the motto of the University of Ghana states; Integri Procedamus; to wit, proceed with integrity. No shortcuts to heaven.
To enjoy and achieve excellence in your four years or more stay on campus; these are five tips for surviving your first semester/first year/ your entire stay in school.
The university is not a high school
You may be tempted to keep the same routines you had in high school. Or maintain the same values and principles, or circle of friends. Thread cautiously. This may not be the wisest decision. The university is all about learning, unlearning, and relearning. You are about to experience true independence with little to no supervision from tutors and parents. Your morals would be tested. And at one point or the other you may have to choose between the devil or the deep blue sea. When that time comes, choose wisely. Friends would change their behaviours, lifestyle on campus may differ from what you are accustomed to, and the standard and cost of living as well may shock you. You will meet people from diverse backgrounds, social and financial status. Remember, the university is not high school. Be open-minded, more accommodating, and yet grounded in your truth. Keep all receipts and documents. You would need them in the future.
In the university, you need to actively search for information. Information is scattered all around you. However, the onus lies on you to make do with it. Before you continue reading, quickly activate your UG student mail. All essential messages and happenings on campus are shared via the UG student mail. Speak up. Don’t be timid. Ask questions when you need answers. Your friends, lecturers, seniors from high school, roommates, JCR executives, SRC executives, etc. are at your disposal to find the necessary details to make your stay at the University of Ghana stress-free. Notice boards, and fliers on staircases, floors, bathrooms, and trees; don’t skip any of those. Read them.
You are not too cool for school
Your academics should be your first priority. There is a popular phrase on campus that goes “you have a 4.0 GPA, it is up to you to defend it”. Get to know your lecturers and professors. Networking begins from there. Create academic long-term and short-term goals. Be organized and find systems that work for you. Attend classes and tutorials. Join study groups. Focus on your studies, you will find love later. Understand the grading system of the university. Know what contributes to your Grade Point Average (GPA) in a course.
Enjoy and not endure
Use your newly found freedom and independence to explore new territories. Try as many clubs as possible to find out which ones you love. Volunteer at various offices to gain experience. Get out of your rooms and explore the campus.
Find out what resources; library, gym, recreational facilities, counselling centre, international programmes offices, etc. the university has and make good use of them. Go to every career fair to build relationships with recruiters. Create a resume and build on your career throughout your days in school.
Build a strong network of support system
School activities can be overwhelming. Things may not always go as planned. You may lack financially, socially, or academically. You may even go through relationship breakups. Do well to have a strong support system you can fall on. Stay in touch with your family, and call them as often as you can. Don’t cut friends off simply because you are in the university. They can provide the shoulders to rest on when the going gets tough. If you experience difficulty in adjusting to the environment, academic advisors or counsellors would come in handy.
Others have done it before you and passed out with flying colours. You can do the same.
Story by: Nana Abena Grant | univers.ug.edu.gh