How to make it at Unza: A letter to Leon

307486_492220444174553_810257261_nDear Leon,

I received the news of your acceptance to the University of Zambia with great pleasure and excitement. Your hard work and diligence have surely reached you to this point and I anticipate a bright academic future for you. I must highlight however that I did not at any point doubt your entry into the institution especially considering that you obtained very high grades at high school level. You have always been a studious individual with a strong drive, a quality I admire greatly especially considering your age. Leon, you must know that since I received this jubilant news I have contemplated deeply on a gift that I can bestow on you as an acknowledgement of you reaching this milestone. Moments alone in introspection have led me to creating a brief of what you should anticipate when on campus. It is my hope that you may use these guidelines as just that. I am in no way attempting to state that this is an exhaustive synopsis but I am sure you will find some of the highlighted incites useful.

1. Picking a Major.

Firstly, UNZA is an institution of higher learning. You will learn a lot of theoretical concepts in your four years there. However as you pick your major please consider the life you want to lead after school. Select a field you can master and harness and importantly a course that is in harmony with your principles and values as an individual. You don’t want to wake up one day wondering why you are on a particular career path. The theory you learn will have to be practiced at some point and so choose wisely.

2. Being a student.

Leon, lecturers are not your parents nor are they your friends. These teachers are meant to guide you on your journey to mastery. They have high expectations of every individual who walks through their doors and so have this in mind. Respect these people as your guide but not to the point of meekness. This is not high school my friend and so please do not expect to be a teacher’s pet or favorite because of approval seeking behavior. Exercise your mental limits by researching beyond your depth and exploring all the fathomable possibilities. This will put you in good standing with your lecturers though this should not be your primary objective. Your goal should be to soak up all the knowledge you can and see the limits of your mental faculties. Of course good grades are a bonus of such efforts but you must know right now that life outside school is not as meritocratic as it is whilst in the class room. The high grades here go to the hard worker all the time. Further, as you study please pick your environment carefully, the Goma lakes, roof tops, hostels, library and gulf are all options but only if you actually get some work done. Pick a consistent place as this will help you dedicate less time to searching for an adequate space. As regards time your ability to harness this will be the most critical factor in your stay at UNZA as lecturers will expect you to complete assignments within two weeks on average, multiply this by 4 courses and see what you might be working with. Lastly, never plagiarize, don’t embarrass me.

3. On fellow students.
When at the University it is inevitable that you will make friends with all sorts of people. You will find many different people from various backgrounds and families. This is yet again another opportunity for you to learn as these people will be able to teach you a thing or two about life and yourself. Be nice to your colleagues as they will share data needed for assignments and general wellbeing whilst at the place. Notably, your first year will be very competitive as people will try to get quartered into a desirable school. But do not let this assail your already polite and peaceful nature. Be calm as this will serve you well beyond school.

4. Money
Whether you will be on bursary or not money management is a critical factor. Please priotize as you have always done. You will need food, study materials and other contingent things. Do not live beyond your means Leon. I know however that you are very enterprising. If you must, please continue with these ventures on the side and you can live a lifestyle that you envisage as fitting to you. Money is one thing you will always need, be stoic in your expenditure and look at the real need behind certain purchases. For instance if you have to choose between slacks from a boutique and a new text book ask yourself what you need the most. I know this is an area you have great discipline in so I will not dwell here.

5. Mommas.
You- like many other hot blooded young men like girls and I have noticed this in you my brother. It’s perfectly fine and I actually expect this of you. However, I must warn you that love is the only thing that might rock your boat on this journey you are taking. Don’t get me wrong, it is perfectly intuitive of human beings to love but one must employ some logic when analyzing the dynamics involved. Girls on campus are also students like you. They have goals and aspirations which do not involve anyone other than themselves. No one goes to UNZA to be in a relationship. So don’t preoccupy yourself with love interests on account of your studies. I know this seems rather counter intuitive but if you flank your first or forth year because of heartbreak you will not have whatever appeal you thought you had before. Besides the University doesn’t recognize ‘almost graduates’ so think hard before proceeding here. Therefore take heed my brother. Make friends and understand how the female psyche works and if possible get in a relationship. However, if you fail to reach your full potential as a student and as an individual but still be a good boyfriend I’m afraid you might develop resentment for this momma you will be with. I should also highlight to you that because women are more introspective and know what they want before men you might meet the hard to get momma who seems inaccessible. Don’t let this bring your spirits down. It is most likely such a girl is in a situation ship with a man like me in society and working. If this is the case go on with your business just never let your self-esteem get tarnished by a girl or indeed anyone else. So, learn about love but don’t let it be the only thing you learn.

6. Actions.
Please understand that the only way one can contribute to society is through their work (Robert Greene- Transforming self- TED talk). The university experience is not just something to get through. Join groups, start businesses and add value. You have proven your initiative already with those conferences and pamphlets you create. Why not continue?

In conclusion, I hereby reiterate my pride in your achievement young man. You have a lot of potential and I would like to see you realize your dreams. I hope you have found some of the incites above useful.



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