University Advice – Celebrating Diversity, Overcoming Challenges

It’s that time of year again, university has begun. Institutionally unifying students from all corners of the world and celebrating a new and exciting chapter in life. The sheer diversity of students should not just be appreciated but celebrated. The concept of university life is both daunting and exciting, and met with many new challenges. Although the students and staff may detest homogeneity, the difficulties many face are similar.

Although people carry distinct traits, characteristics and practises, the problems many encounter are alike. What distinguishes those that succeed and those that wither under the pressure, is the way in which these obstacles are dealt with. Obstacles can take form through various means, both internal and external. Yet, to tackle such diverse impediments, the same simple method can be utilized; to stay positive, acknowledge, appreciate and organise the time you have, and most importantly have faith in yourself and in Allah.

The first year of university many see as the hardest, not in terms of education, but with regards to adapting to more of an independent lifestyle. This newfound independence is an inspiring, yet intimidating responsibility consisting of not just washing your own clothes but learning to micro-manage your lifestyle; from finance to free time. These aspects of organisation prove extremely difficult for some, what must be remembered, however, is to avoid over-burdening or over-thinking about aspects of life that you may have no control over.

What you can control, again, is the way in which you as an individual grapple with the challenges that come your way. There are many support systems in university for those of you who may require an external opinion or advice. Such support networks consist of either the student hub, provided by the university, or societies that you can become involved in that may offer support or guidance that is contextually sensitive. It is important, however, to encourage yourself and others to ask questions, remain in the know, and employ an inquisitive attitude. The self-taught, independent study, as well as the group work and activities you may be involved in necessitates cognisance as you will be left to your own devices to get things done.

University is a milestone that prepares you for adult life. To harness a true university experience, it is necessary to immerse yourself in the social arena, to bolster self awareness and appreciation and to refrain from sheltering yourself in the face of difference. Diversity is beautiful, even diverse challenges should be considered a blessing as they will either prepare you for the future or teach you valuable lessons. All problems can be met with a solution, so rather than allowing the problem to become overwhelming, concentrate on avenues to solve such hardships.

Remember, God will not burden you with anything you cannot handle. Furthermore, you must refrain from underestimating your resilience, as an obstacle may seem too great to handle, yet through faith in God, and faith in yourself, you can truly manage all that comes your way.

Perception is key, and only with positivity will you unlock the doors to success.

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