“Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome”-Arthur Ashe. It is said that life presents us with different challenges, situations and struggles that are seemingly beyond our control. The loss of a family member, financial starvation, tuition issues or relationship problems with friends or significant other are all too familiar. Whatever it is, it allows us to gain new experiences, strengthen our weaknesses and increase our strengths. It opens the door for new possibilities, adventures and even growth; developing and shaping our characters. We can’t forget that this journey takes us places we have never thought of going. For most of us it is the University of the Southern Caribbean better known as USC. For those of you who may or may not know me but have seen me around with either the Praise team or the His Luv choir, my name is Denicia Williams. I hail from the beautiful land of many waters, countless resources and lovely people- The Co-operative Republic of Guyana. I am a final year Psychology major from the best school – Social Sciences. My dream is to one day become a Child Psychologist.
As I pen these words I am reminded of the best decision I ever made in coming here. Moving away from the comforts of home and its environs is never easy but I made the sacrifice and I am reaping the rewards of my labour. I was raised a Seventh – Day Adventist and this is my first time attending a Christian school after spending the first years of my life in government institutions. Adjusting to life here was extremely difficult; balancing three jobs, regular classes, choir practice and praise team. Involved in a lot, but I owe it all to God, my parents, friends and my loved ones who have encouraged me along this journey. Upon arrival here, I noticed they offered Christian education at its best. The focus is on developing individuals through the psycho-social stages which in psychological terms include the: physical, social and emotional. As the motto states- ‘Beyond Excellence”, I sincerely believe that we receive such on entering and are challenged to exemplify it when we leave to conquer the world. Coming here enables you to grow into a holistic individual, which targets the spiritual, academic, social and physical needs. It presents to you a multi-cultural environment where diversity unites us and makes us who we are.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek”- Barack Obama. Humans are still up to this day unable to cope with or accept change and this usually starts with us the individuals. Here are some tips/ advice for making it through your 4 or 5 years of university life:
- Freshmen- This school is a very different environment from high school. Adjusting to living in a new environment such as dormitory life, financial issues, finding classes and balancing your personal and social life. Sometimes it is a bit overwhelming and confusing. Some tips that will help you along the way can be to:
- Spend personal time with God and ask for his guidance in how to go about your daily life and activities. Trust me when I say prayer works wonders. Also, practice temperance in all things. It allows you to be moderate and saves you from having to suffer the harsh consequences later.
- Have an organized plan of what needs to get done for the semester and pace yourself to ensure you complete all deadlines. Ensure you set aside time to complete assignments and study for exams. Avoid PROCRASTINATION.
- This is essential for our bodies recuperation from the rigors of university life. It contributes to a healthy mind, body and soul. Get enough of it so you can function properly.
- Healthy eating also contributes to the proper functioning of one’s brain and body. Try to include all six food groups into your diet and avoid unhealthy snacks as much as you can. Certain foods cloud your memory and inhibits you from thinking clearly. Eat healthy so you can always be on top of your game.
- This helps to keep your brain activity up and builds up your immune and other systems to fight diseases.
- Finally, find time for recreational activities. Campus offers lots of competitions and fun tours etc. Nothing is wrong with having fun. Get involved in extra-curricular activities. There are a variety of clubs around such as Drama MAGs, orchestra, HIS LUV choir (for those vocally inclined) which means Heavenly Inspired Singers Lifting Up Voices and the USC Praise team. Do not let your talent go to waste by just consuming books all the time; take a break to develop your vocational skills. Unwind and appreciate the people and the things around you.
- Sophomores- 2ND year students- By now you have some understanding of how things go after settling down. You are beginning to see how the systems work. Keeping up your GPA to be on the Dean’s list or graduating with honours is your new best friend. But sometimes you can get complacent and easily distracted by the many activities campus offers. Laziness kicks in and the biggest enemy of them all, procrastination, takes control of us. My advice would be the same as the above. Just tackle assignments early enough and get your rest. Do not be distracted by the many activities and forget what your main goal is. To complete your degree and graduate. Trust me boys and girls are always here, and they are not going anywhere, take your time and allow God to bring you through. Never lose sight of your goal. Keep it in focus and work hard.
- Juniors 3rd year students- You are halfway through your journey; approaching the end. The finishing line is just around the bend. Do not give up. Keep God at the center of your life, plans and goals. Then just relax, work hard and watch God bless you and bring you through your storms trials and many obstacles. Be friendly and assist those new students in whatever way possible. Think positive at all times despite the situation around you. Prepare for the journey that you are about to embark on in the end.
- Finally, to the 4th year students like myself. You did it. We all made it at last. This, however is not the end of the road. It is the closing of another chapter and the beginning of a new one. We are about to leave this sheltered environs to enter the brutal and harsh realities of the work force. Do not be discouraged or lose hope. We conquered four long, hard, tiresome years of our university lives for us to give up now. Let us go out there and strive to live and work ‘Beyond Excellence”. As we prepare to cross the stage, let us remember that true and earnest change begins with us.
To conclude, this journey has all been attributed to the Almighty God. He allowed me the strength, wisdom, required skill sets, knowledge and necessary resources to complete the tremendously and seemingly difficult task of finishing university. My fellow students reading this piece, yes you, always keep God and Your spiritual life in tact so that he can lead you to brighter and clearer paths. I would not have made it this far if it was not for my prayerful mother and dedicated and loving father that always encouraged and supported me throughout my trying times. Even in everything I decided to be a part of, there were moments when I felt like giving up and even became frustrated with my parents. However, they never stopped being there. A big thank you!
Special tributes goes out to my best friends, sisters and good friends for their encouragement and continued support along this journey. Pretoria, Alicia, Liliana, Atyia, Sherry, my twin sisters Diane and Diana, Kamelia and all my other friends who have made an impact on my life, thank you so much. If per chance I did not mention your name you are still important to me and your contribution was well received. Finally, to my significant other. Thank you so much for being my mental and social support through your many encouraging words and prayers. You never gave up on me and I thank you. It really means a lot having you around. I really appreciate all that you have done. This is it. Fellow students, let your journey be such that will always be remembered by those who come behind us. May our lives be an example for the younger ones to see and pattern their lives after. Take the few tips/ advice I have given; it will help you achieve much and greater success.
Be blessed. Have fun and enjoy the journey of becoming a USCIAN. It is worth it. You will never regret it.
Denicia M.A Williams
Final year Psychology Major
School of Social Sciences.