Navneet Khina has done her fair share of leadership in university. In two years, she’s packed more into her studies than most people accomplish in four or even five. So what does she do? We’ve had Navneet share her tricks of the trade here. Check them out.
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Whether it’s back to another year of school or your first time on campus, you are bound to run into particular challenges and opportunities. My two and a half years at the U of A has equipped me well with some insight and I’d like to impart some of that wisdom on to you.
Success in University, other than attaining good grades, comes down to a few key things for me.
For one, I know the importance of striving to be(come) an interesting, put-together, and independent individual. When I say this, I mean learn to be comfortable with yourself, and just yourself. Don’t be afraid of being alone. Walking around campus without a friend by your side is tough. You’ll look to your cell phone for solace, making it seem like you’re busy and important. But stop doing that. No one thinks you’re a loner, in fact, no one is even thinking about you. Instead, take the time to explore campus on your own – discover quirky new spots to study or eat, and then share them with friends.
On top of that, learn to really enjoy being by yourself. Being comfortable on your own and being able to fight the urge to surround yourself with the familiarity of old friends may be difficult, but I’ve found that once you get to know yourself a little better, you become a more interesting person to be around.
Now, my next piece of advice, despite what I just told you, is to stop being comfortable. As in, don’t be afraid to expand yourself, not in a way that means going to Dewey’s for beer every day, but where you expand your “horizons”, and your networks. Meet new people, in fact, go out of your way to do so. I’m not saying you should leave your old friends behind, but don’t rely solely on them for social interaction. I cannot stress the importance of getting out of one’s comfort zone. Get out there! Randomly talk to people in your class, join a club, and go to events and parties! (You will likely get free food, which is always a plus in my books).
And yes, travel! Go to conferences, just because you can. Funding is everywhere. Present your papers, host an event, or join an intramural sports team! These are probably the greatest learning experiences you will ever have, so do it while you’re young. There’s nothing like being a student and studying or working abroad.
Finally, the one that I’ve had a lot of practise with, and frankly, still need more, is learning how to be in equilibrium; how to balance the million-and-one things you have to do all within a span of a week. Like studying, working, eating right, going for a run, volunteering at that club, making it to your friend’s birthday, and simply just to sleep.
Find what works best for you. Definitely try out some extracurriculars but don’t overburden yourself. There are those keeners out there who want to do everything (I was definitely one of them), in the hopes that all the extra stuff will be beneficial. Most of it will, but trust me, it’s not worth spending all that time if you’re sacrificing your grades. I pride myself in the leadership roles I’ve taken on, but I’ve also learned how to say no.
So, I suppose I should follow my own advice. These three pieces of wisdom I’ve imparted on to you will serve as my own back-to-school resolutions: I’ll strive to be a better individual, I’ll consciously try new things and meet new people, and most importantly, I’ll find that balance in both my academic and personal life.
Orientation Breakthroughs illustration by Farwa Sadiq-Zadah
If you’re looking for more entries from student leaders and alumni about their university experiences, click this link!