It is graduation season again and as always thousands of graduates are thrown into the real world to face the harsh realities of life. Although it’s been two years now, it feels like just yesterday when I walked up the podium to take my certificate. I had no idea about the realities I was about to face as I jubilantly threw my hat in the air. These are the hard lessons I have learnt in the past two years after school and I wish someone had shared them with me while I was still a student.

1.  Chew, pour and pass won’t cut it in the real world:

For most students, the common strategy to ace that test or exam is to “chew” and “pour”. This method works except that in most cases people forget what they learnt soon after the exam. That is where the problem is. In the real world, you will need every little thing you learnt in school to apply in various situations. So what do you do when you have completely forgotten everything you learnt?

2. Save as much as possible:

Many of us were lucky to get weekly or monthly stipends from our family members during our time in school. The biggest mistake I made however was not saving some of this money. The notion that, after school more money will come will only lead to massive disappointment. So many responsibilities pop up when you graduate and all of a sudden your money becomes inadequate. Save as much as you can in school so that you will have back up cash for when you are in dire need.

3. Take entrepreneurship courses serious:

I used to skip entrepreneurship courses while in school. Big mistake! It was only when I started working that I knew how important those courses were. These courses teach you essential skills such as writing a business plan and funny enough people are making huge sums of money just by writing business plans for others. See how the most useless course to me has become a business for others??

4. Take advantage of seminars and workshops:

I was fortunate to attend a couple of seminars while in school but truth be told, it was only because I knew the organisers and so I was obliged to go. Take advantage of these programmes to learn skills that are not taught in class. Also it is a very good opportunity to meet people and network. I cannot stress enough how important networking is in this modern world.

5. Have fun:

It is said that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It is prudent to learn hard while in school but take time off to hang out with friends and do some interesting stuff. I am a bit of an introvert so I didn’t do much partying but I had great times with friends and those memories will be with me for years to come. Create memories while you can because a time will come when you will not even have the time to hang out with friends.

6. Don’t just pass through the school, let the school pass through you:

As an introvert I was shying away from a lot of school activities. Student politics, charity organisations, church leadership and so on. What I did not know was that these associations help shape your future in ways you can never imagine. I have friends who through such activities have gained employment in top companies in this country. Others have gained the opportunity to further their education on fully funded scholarships in top universities across the globe. Don’t just pass through the school, do something profitable and you will definitely reap the results when you come out into the real world.

7. Find yourself:

Finally, the university is the best place to find yourself. This is because there are so many options available so it is easy to choose what fits you most. You have four years to figure out who you want to be. In school I found out I had a passion for IT and I am pursuing that steadily. I also realised that I like to help people and always want to find a solution for problems. Get to know yourself. Find your hobbies and learn about the things you love. Most importantly love yourself and strive to be the best version of yourself.