What’s different this time?

Posted: 15.08.2016
Author: Damarie Kalonzo

I cannot believe second year is almost here. I am truly excited, but more importantly I am wiser. I am aware that some of you are joining first year. Let me take this opportunity to congratulate you on this achievement. Welcome to the world of higher learning. However, university is about so much more than just getting your degree. It’s a state of constant learning about yourself, your city and its community and the world. From this point on, you’ll be constantly absorbing new sights and sounds and every experience will be different from the last.

That being said, I learnt a couple of things from my first year that have shaped my goals and priorities for this coming year. Now this may sound selfish, but hear me out. My ultimate priority this year is.. (drumroll please) ME!

Og Mandino says in his book, ‘The University of Success’, that many of us never realise our greatness because we become side-tracked by secondary activity. So I’m choosing to focus on myself, my dreams and what brought me to Leeds in the first place. Now, I’m not saying I’m going to avoid all social activity and become a hermit. I’m saying that I am choosing to build myself. This academic year, I am choosing things that build me and not things that destroy me.  Here’s how:

1. I choose to be fit.

This is a big one. Fitness is something I have struggled with. However, last academic year, anything that involved physical exertion actually calmed me and released tensions in my body. So this semester, I’m taking it up a notch. I’m going actively take part in a sport, probably squash. Because being healthy makes me a better learner.

2. I choose to lead.

Having been afforded an opportunity at the Leeds East African Society as President, I’m going to do my best to use this as a platform to make a difference. Here’s the thing guys, life is too short to let opportunities pass you by. So don’t. I believe that you have been afforded the opportunity by the NCUK to be great. So take it and run. If you haven’t joined the NCUK yet, I highly recommend that you do, because greatness awaits you.

3. I choose to explore

I haven’t been to the docks yet to take in River Aire’s stunning view. But, the important thing is that I will.

If I am being totally honest, there are so many places in Leeds I wish I had visited in my first year. This year I will. I mean what’s holding me back except myself. Armed with my camera, there’s a whole new Leeds to be discovered.

4. I choose to excel.

I chose to study abroad for many reasons. I’m sure you did or will too. The most important thing is to never lose sight of your goals in your education. First year taught me a lot about how I studied and how I can improve. There are so many things I could have done better and this is the time to implement what I learnt from those experiences. Improvement is key to my academic success.

What's different this time?

Setting goals isn’t the easiest thing to do. A friend of mine came up with this formula

Set a time and a date, and commit to that

I’m committed to being fit, leading, exploring and excelling. What are your goals and priorities for this academic year?