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Lesego Setou
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A scholar's guide to life

20 February 2013, 10:00

I am a firm believer that the only way to achieve immortality is to share your knowledge. I am passionate about youth development and though I have not escalated it to a larger scale, the universe has been kind enough in affording me the opportunity to contribute towards that within my sphere of influence. In my engagement with these beautiful young minds, I realised that if there was ever a greater need, it will be a need for knowledge.  There are many gaps that exist in the mind of a high scholar transitioning to an institution of higher learning; and even greater gaps in the mind of a higher institution scholar transitioning into the world of work. These gaps are right in their existence as no one can ever strip experience of its title as the best teacher. It is however vital though that those who have climbed the mountains of applying for bursaries and admissions at universities; those who have swam across the oceans of job interviews and explored the intriguing and scary forest that is the workplace share their experience and knowledge.

In efforts to fill the gaps in the young people’s minds and of course as a way of self-preservation in efforts to achieve immortality through sharing knowledge, I developed a list of what I think every young person should be aware of.

About choosing a career

A lot of people will tell you that there is a shortage of engineers, others will tell you that climate smart is the next big thing; but as an ex biotechnologist, a current recruiter who is on a path to follow youth development and music; allow me to tell you this, if you are ever going to choose a career align yourself to the following:

·         What are you passionate about, what do you like to spend your time on, think of things you get excited about doing

·         What are you talented in, what is it that you can do that comes so naturally to you , the way singing comes easy to the Bala brothers or running comes easy to Usain Bolt

·         What would you like to give to this world, when you imagine yourself working, what are you doing, what are you wearing, where are you, open your mind

If you can find a career that merges your passion and your talent, you are going to marvel the world and will have found your niche. Do however be patient, self-actualization and self-realization is a continuous process but you can serve yourself well now, by asking yourself the questions above.

About Higher Institutions of Learning

Welcome to the world of competition. In this world, you have to be the best. You and the rest of the world would like a space at that university. Do your research, once you have chosen a career you would like to pursue, do the following:

·         Find out which institutions offer that course, select a minimum of three institutions

·         Research about the admission requirements, what symbols are required to secure admission on this programme, as a heads up, if the institution requires 60% for a subject, do yourself a favour get 85% in that way you saving yourself from the heartache of rejection and tiring world of the annual stampede that occurs in University of Johannesburg

·         Research about organisations that offer bursaries in your career of interest, there is really no need to stay at home because of finances, get excellent results and apply in time

NB The greatest discovery you will find when you get to university is that you have to qualify to write exams, unlike in high school, universities take exams very seriously. You do not just write exams by virtue of you attending a particular course; you have to earn your seat in the exam room, so best develop the habit of achieving excellent results sooner rather than later.

About the world of work

I was very fortunate that I started working when companies still believed in training people and people were still loyal to companies. The world of work has shifted a bit, although companies still do search for young, eager, talented minds, they are weary of wasting their resources on capacitating people only to have them leave the company in two years.  This has brought about companies retaliating in the form of sourcing people with some kind of experience. With this knowledge in mind, I advise you to use your university holidays wisely. Find companies that you can work for during the holiday period, companies that offer services within your career of interest. This will afford you insurmountable experience, by the time you graduate; you will have a more attractive CV than your fellow peers. Invest in reading The Workplace, it is an enlightening paper that is normally found in The Star Newspaper and is released every Wednesday, this paper has job opportunities and interesting information about the world of work.

NB The greatest discovery you will find about the world of work is that people are very busy, so reach out to them, extend yourself, ask them what their role in the company is, how you can help them, and if someone gives you work to do, deliver with the greatest diligence and excellence. If you sit in your little corner expecting the manager to direct you, you will wait forever.

About Life

Attitude- Develop a positive attitude, life has its own challenges but challenges are there to develop a certain skill in you, everything is in a constant state of change, so never give up and know that everything happens for the greater good

Be Humble- If there was ever an attractive trait in a man, it will be humility, it affords people the ability to learn and win one favour in the hearts of man

Be Excellent- Aristotle said we are what we repeatedly do, excellence is therefore not an act but a habit, so learn to be excellent in whatever you do, be it washing dishes, making your bed, homework, be loyal in small things and you will soon discover that you have developed a priceless habit of excellence

Power of Association- One philosopher once wrote the people in our lives, shape us and are shaped by us, so be careful who you invite into your life. If you want to pass Maths, associate with those who pass Maths, learn from them; if you want to study Marketing, build networks with people who are currently studying marketing, people who work as marketing managers connect with them. The sooner you learn and develop the art of relationship building and networking, the greater you will open yourself to a flood of opportunities. Remember though that relationship are best sustained if nurtured by both parties, so while you identify what you can get from the relationship, also think about what you can give.

Read- Newspapers are a great way to stretch this habit beyond your current studies. However I have with experience found that there are some books that will really elevate your thinking , my recommendation includes- The Difference Maker by John C Maxwell; Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill but revised by Arthur R Pell; What Colour Is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles; Rich dad Poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki 

In conclusion I wish you all the best in the journey that is life; life is beautiful but it’s up to you to see the beauty.

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