It’s finally over. The hazy period between Christmas and New Year, when we cannot tell one day from the next and our stomachs are full of food and our hearts with love. Very quickly and without warning, we are plunged back into our routines; whether work or school. Most of us will approach these routines with the same regretful rush used for most stages in life resulting in more activity than productivity.

A primary school pupil, somewhere, pines to move up to secondary school, while a secondary school student wishes for simpler days.

Same goes for the University student who cannot wait for her four or five years to be up so she can move onto something better; a couple of months after graduation, realizes she is not ready.

So, today, I am faced with the existentially-questioning question: What would you do differently if you had to go back to school?

The summary of most answers will be “I wish I had more time.”

tip 23.2

But having mulled over the question some more, I realized I have learnt a valuable lesson over the last five years: Time is not relative and the concept of more time is a fallacy. You cannot wish time to be slower or faster. It just occurs. It is our perception of time that differs. What we choose to do with the time determines how we perceive the passage of time. Which is why, most times, in retrospect, time always seems like it sped by when in actuality it did not.

In the spirit of pointing out some of my decisions that make me almost wish for more time:

First year seemed to lack any speed whatsoever. I basically drifted by, choosing only to do the bare minimum. I didn’t go out much or have a lot of friends; I didn’t know who I wanted to be. This might not be the same for everyone, but most will agree with me that first year is the time to discover yourself, and define or redefine who you want to be throughout school. Set specific goals to be achieved by the end of your period in school. It is also the time when work-life balance is the most pragmatic. Life is very flexible and much simpler. It’s easier to find yourself more engaged in extra-curriculars, as well as balancing your studies which are just as important. This brings me to: the ease with which one is able to balance academics and social life will determine how efficient one will be for the rest of the school period. So it’s advisable to endeavor to acquire a grade that you will be comfortable with.

My second year was the toughest. I sucked at rationing my time so that year seemed fast and extremely furious. I decided to join in some social groups and totally ignored my academics. Of course, my academics suffered and I, in turn, suffered. The fear of fear propelled me to do better in my third year and so on, but it was a real struggle. It was when I learnt how to be more time efficient and better account of my time. My perception of time transitioned from being time-conscious to being action-conscious, which made for more productivity than activity. Necessary skill-acquisition should also be a priority, especially skills in line with your career goals as a graduate.

I’d also state here that Networking in school is highly underrated. Most of the time, your network of friends end up being your lawyers, doctors, business partners or might have friends that might be any of those things to you. Building your network in school is important, regardless of what career you venture into.

The productivity-dynamic, coupled with a drive to build one’s career right from school, is everything needed to equip you for Life After School.

So, if I absolutely had to go back in time to do something different in school, I would definitely listen to my own advice.





Written by: Adaobi Onyeakagbu

Edited by: Francisca Emeruwa


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