In a previous post (www.blog.standardbank.com/blog/2013/02/getting-involved-university-beginning) we looked at a simple way of sifting through the many groups available on campus. But personal development is not only about joining groups, it’s also about taking initiative in class. Mpumelelo Kunene, who is on Standard Bank Group’s IT Graduate Programme 2013, shares his experience of campus life and the lessons he took out of it.
“I’d like to share my campus involvement experience with the hope of inspiring you to do better than I did. There were highs and lows but see how you can learn from them so your experience could be better and more enriching.
“I studied at the University of KwaZulu-Natal for four years, in which I completed my undergrad BSc degree in Computer Science and an Honours degree in Information Systems. In my first semester I did not join any group, mainly because I was fresh out of high school and quite frankly I didn’t know any better.
“As you would imagine, it took the whole first semester for me to realize that I have to appreciate team work (naturally I had to learn this, as I was a typical basement nerd) and after all the group work in class I became open to the idea of joining a group. I first tried to join the varsity cricket team. That was a catastrophic failure, as I realized that you cannot neglect a sport for your whole life and then expect to join the first team after only a week of training. I hated being useless, so I left very quickly.
“In my second semester I joined a Christian group on campus, and it was there that I was to spend the rest of my university life at home. I enjoyed the company of the people, and I liked the management of the group’s activities and saw that it was something that I could not only do but enjoy. In my second year of study I joined the group’s leadership team as its weekly meeting organizer, and in my third year I served as its president. This group’s activities ranged from Christian campus activities, to writing and playing songs, to social responsibility projects, and there was always a lot to do. It was in this group where I matured from a hotheaded youngster to a responsible young leader (well, I’d like to think so!).
“In my fourth year I was voted in as a corridor representative for the floor I stayed in in residence, in which I had to make sure that the tenants’ stay on the residence was a comfortable one.
“But personal development is not only about joining groups, it’s also about taking initiative in class. There are class representative posts, group leading for projects and sometimes lecturers need volunteers for research, tutoring and the like. Grab those opportunities, because whether they be good experiences or bad, they will surely build you up to a closer image of whom not only your prospective employer needs you to be, but also whom you aspire to be. In the next post we’ll look at how being active at varsity benefits you when at work.