Sometimes, when we’re so preoccupied with life, we forget to stop and appreciate it every once in a while. It’s often only when we look back, that we realize a moment was truly special.
Student life might be one of the best examples of this. While studying, it can be so easy to stress over the everyday hassle of meeting deadlines, revising, taking care of ourselves or even being social enough, that we forget to live in the moment.
Your student experience will hopefully be one of the most exciting times of your life, but will certainly be one of the most formative times of your life. Whether you realize it or not, the decisions you make (e.g. choice of university, study, friends) can have a lifelong impact. Not only because it’s the springboard into an eventual career (which can literally shoot you anywhere), but also because it’s a time in our lives that we’re getting to understand ourselves.
Our point? No matter where, what, or with whom you study, don’t forget to zoom out now and then and appreciate your student life. Try a new activity, develop a new skill, go outside your comfort zone, make new friends, travel to a new destination. Being open-minded, curious, and passionate about life can make the university springboard much ‘springier’. And that’s exactly what universities have started realizing more and more as well.
Whereas historically the focus lay on ‘study success’, the shift has been much more towards ‘student success’. If you have student success (exploring these opportunities), research suggests there is a much higher chance that you will also have study success (better academic performance). To boost student success, universities should ensure they provide the following:
Opportunities for Personal Growth: offer plenty of opportunities for personal development, whether that's through challenging real-life cases, student leadership opportunities, or exposure to diverse perspectives. These experiences will help them develop critical thinking skills, gain self-confidence, and broaden their worldview (all essential qualities to fully utilize the springboard).
A Sense of Community: provide a sense of community that can be hard to replicate in other settings. Whether it's through participation in student clubs and organizations, sports teams, or campus events, students can build lasting connections with their peers that will last long after graduation. Students are bound to meet their future life partner, their groomsmen/bridesmaids and best friend group, so provide them with more than enough opportunities to create memories.
Flexibility and Freedom: university life is a wonderful opportunity when it comes to flexibility. Only students have a level of freedom that is hard to come by in other settings. Students can choose their own courses, pursue their own interests, and make their own schedules. This autonomy allows students to explore their passions and find their own path in life. Ensure that students' schedules aren’t filled entirely every single week, but allow some space for students to pave their own growth.
The Potential for Life-Changing Experiences: offer enough opportunities for potential life-changing experiences. Ranging from study abroad programs to internships to research opportunities, make sure that every student is encouraged to get out of their comfort zone at least once every while.
All in all, universities shouldn’t forget that students will likely remember their short time at university for the rest of their lives. To be clear, we don’t just encourage students to go out and party all the time, but we do encourage students to appreciate the moment and grab the opportunity to the fullest.