To describe my journey through university, I would start at the conclusion of my senior year of high school. Here I was an honor student receiving academic awards but had no idea how I was going to pay for school. My family was not in any position to afford a tertiary tuition and I was accepting the realization that I might have to enter the workforce in order to gain enough funds to finance my own education; however when I told my uncle (Elder Lewis) about my intended plan to put my education on hold, he promptly told me to pack my clothes and that I will be attending Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville Jamaica! I could end there and conclude with the famous phrase “and the rest was history”, however that would be an injustice to the struggle it was to complete my studies and walk across the stage for my degree!
I arrived at NCU as a bright eyed freshman with the thought of the idealism of university on the forefront of my mind. Don’t gain the “Freshman 15 Felecia”, “Stay away from boys and concentrate on studies Felecia”, “Pick the right friends Felecia; those that don’t party or drink and have their head on their shoulders”; yet I soon realized that university was much more than just “keeping the rules”, but also of knowledge and development I was to receive from the many positive and negative experiences that were to come my way. This was to be a time when I grew, not just in academic wisdom, but grew more so from not having mommy and daddy to run to for every situation, not having the comforts of my space or a clean bathroom or kitchen. If university was a book that I was writing it would be entitled “University: The Maturation of a naïve me”.
University is definitely all it’s cracked up to be. You form bonds that should’ve never been formed or should’ve been formed much faster. But no matter the experience, there was always a lesson or two to gain from each experience because what’s university life without a gap year. I always thought that gap years were for the ‘richies’ but 2009 changed my mind. I took a gap year in the middle of my studies and flew to Europe where I grew and matured even more.
My return to school was met with the usual financial challenges and unusual health issues. I had and still have friends who held me during those times, but to be honest, it was all God.
Don’t be afraid to cry because you soon will. You will cry over a bad grade, a bad break up, a bad professor, or a horrible argument with a good friend. You must also learn to cry over a dream you have until your head aches and you get up and do something to turn that dream into reality. At the same time learn to laugh. Don’t take things so seriously all the time. Enjoy nature. Have lunch with friends. Take a thank you card to your least favorite lecturer and give the guy (or girl) who has a massive crush on you a hug.
My advice to you is to make your own! That’s the best advice! Face each experience with the wisdom of your Maker and don’t try to live someone else’s. Experience your own. Make your story an extraordinary one. It’s quite simple really; live each day at college as if it were your last and at the same time, live it as though you would be in school for the next ten years to come! Balance everything. You’ll care about getting good grades yet at the same time you will care about your classmates and the friendships you build. If you live like this, you will care about taking care of yourself physically and at the same time take big risk, jump into deep waters with friends in the spirit of reckless abandonment.
By:Felecia Datus , Northern Caribbean University Class of 2013
With contributions from Kirk Dunchie