It is university time!
There is very little information that is there to guide university students to choose the right degree programme. I am here to try and address that issue. In the last two articles in this career guidance series, I shared the stuff that you need to know for getting a career in Primary and High School. Now it’s time to see what you need to focus on after graduating from these institutions.
A degree is an investment. You invest 4 years expecting that you will get knowledge that will get you a job which will make you marry that girl of your dreams and buy that dream car. You PAY for the education. It is not free in most cases. The first thing you need to do is to do your research. Which career do you want to get into? Visit the previous blog post for a comprehensive breakdown of the careers available. Why do you want to get into them? Do you have some level of interest? Now do the first step. This is going on the internet and researching all about the career you want to get into AND the job prospects. If you really want to learn, university is the wrong place to go. University is a mass memorization industry in which you are taught what the employers want. Make sure you have a job you can get into after producing the memorization certificate (University Certificate).
The next step is to download a prospectus. This has the courses on offer. An example is this https://www.hit.ac.zw/downloads/admissions/degree-programmes-offered-and-careers.pdf . This is a list of the degrees offered by a local Zimbabwean university, the Harare Institute of Technology. See what is needed for each degree programme. See the jobs you can get after studying each degree. That is why I chose this prospectus. It looks quite detailed. The person who made this needs to get promoted!
You need to do a lot of research. You are going to get enrolled into a degree programme that you will spend 4 years doing. You definitely would want to do research. I find it quite funny that we people spend so much time on nonsense, but are unwilling to spend time on things that are actually important. It is like spending the whole day looking for the perfect movie to watch in the evening but not having time to plan a healthy diet.
You need to prepare for going to university. For some, this is the first time that they will leave home. It is a very good idea to ensure that you have everything that is needed before you leave home. Have a look at this blogpost to see all you need.
Once you get to university, you are going to be surrounded by very different people from very different backgrounds. Remember that most people do not know what they are doing, and also remember that it is each man for himself, God for us all. You need to create an exit plan as soon as you get settled. Have a skill that you learn that you can monetize. It may take a bit of time before you find a proper job so you need to find something that pays you before you find a proper job. This is where freelancing comes in. Freelancing is cool because any computer literate person can get to raise money. When you are at university, you have free Wi-Fi. Use that. I wish I did that. Sigh.
These are people you really need to be in good books with. There is a thing called a recommendation letter. You will need them to write a good word for you to get scholarships. Besides, they are the ones who usually assess your performance. I didn’t say become a lecturer’s pet. That doesn’t always pay off in the long run. Just be an average student who respects their lecturer.
Friends either make you or they break you. When you are in university there is a very great opportunity for you to make life changing events that completely ruin you. Stay away from bad people. Have people who fill your life with good ideas. A YouTuber, Amy Landino calls these people your “Personal Board of Advisors.” I would strongly encourage you to keep checking who is on this board quite often (every month or 2 or
Try finding YouTubers or podcasters who make your life better.
Vusi Thembekwayo (YouTuber – Vusi Thembekwayo & MygrowthfundSA) – Motivation, really good English and a lot of nuggets for entrepreneurs.
Patrice Washington (Podcaster – Redefining Wealth Podcast) – How to chase purpose without ever chasing money.
Simon Kaguramamba (Podcaster – The Africa 1K challenge podcast) – How to monetize your talents and get up to 1000 USD per month.
Amy Landino (YouTuber – AmyTV) – How to keep your life in order and keep yourself productive.
Alex Becker (YouTuber – Alex Becker) – Great life advice for anyone + really bad jokes. I love his channel and you will too!
Bonus tip: Also make sure that you get a good roommate. The roommate that you have will greatly affect the quality of your University life.
I loved electronics. As a kid, each time my parents bought me a toy, they would find it broken apart. I wanted to know what exactly was inside it and how it all worked. In addition to this, I loved writing. I found the arts rather interesting although my academic records say otherwise. Since I naturally excelled in the sciences, I decided to go for an Engineering degree. This was due to many factors, the main one being that the other options had a rather bleak future in terms of employment. I did Electronic Engineering and boy was that the best decision I have ever made. Universities are memorization industries, but the university I went to had a slightly different approach. In addition to the memorization present in all other education institutions, they forced us to have a practical project each year.
For 4 years, we did 4 different projects. I would learn more during the practical project than I would in the many courses we did. You learn where to buy components, how to bring them together, how to read data sheets, and how to deal with a project that is refusing to work (beating it doesn’t work). I also learnt how to ask for help (it is harder than it sounds) and how to come up with clever statements e.g.
“The design will be finalized in the next reporting period.” That is engineering jargon for “I have no idea how this thing is going to look like or work so PLEASE give me more time.”
I then used my two passions, technology and writing. I am writing here on this blog and as for my technology skills, I am a software developer for a local company with a terrible name (I told the guy who made the company but he never listened).
The main challenge with university is choosing the right degree programme. Once you choose the right degree programme, all you need to do is use a lot of common sense and exploit any good opportunities that come your way.
I hope you enjoyed the series. I enjoyed writing it!