Here we are folks. Another semester is nearing its end and the warm days and carefree evenings of summer are swirling about in my mind. As we reach the end of the semester, I’ve begun the great effort of taking inventory of my life as a student on the campus of NEIU. The funny thing is, when you’re an advice columnist, you always have tons of advice for everyone else and none left over for yourself. For my final edition of Eagle Eye Advice, I thought that I would share my directives to myself as I move into the final leg of my journey here at NEIU. My hope is that it will help you all push to tackle this, and any other, institution of higher education.
Stay true to yourself and your mission.
There will always be loads of people wanting to give you advice. Sure, they may feel they know what’s best for you and want to see you shine, but always remember that you have the final say. Who knows the reasons for your return to school better than you? Who knows more about your internal and external struggles than you? Your life will be less stressful if you stay true to your mission for returning to school and complete that mission in a timely manner. If you march to the tune of your own drummer, then you can dance wildly and freely to your own music.
Never regret helping your colleagues.
On occasions, I’ve felt that nagging feeling that I should have kept my mouth shut. However, anyone who knows me knows that I can’t. Before I speak, I often tell myself, “Keesha, this isn’t your business. Mind your own business.” But I can never do it. This is the very reason why this advice column exists in the first place. I wanted to be instrumental in helping my fellow students in whatever way that I can. Taking five minutes out of our daily schedule to help out or advocate for a fellow student can be challenging but so rewarding in the end. This is also how I’ve run across thousands of resources on the campus of NEIU, by helping someone else. It also helps other students to know that they are not alone. This forms the foundations of your networking abilities, a skill that will last you a lifetime.
When tackling a challenging situation, take it on and do it well.
It has been a challenge for me all semester to juggle the tremendous leadership positions, get acclimated to my new status as a graduate student, and take care of a family. Nevertheless, I took them on and tried to do all of them well. It feels good at the end of all the hard work, to look back and say, “Job well done.” Additionally, your colleagues will trust in you as a person and in the work that you produce. College provides the training wheels, but once you are out in the world you must be prepared to peddle on your own. Here’s a tip, take the challenge, and live up to the experience.
Make peace with yourself and your limitations.
I’ve learned this the hard way, take nothing on that you can’t complete. We all have shortcomings and can’t possibly know everything. This is why we need to make peace with our limitations and ourselves. When we do this we can open ourselves to the advice of others. More than that, we can request that advice from others. This is how we acquire resources (such as scholarships, internships, jobs and other educational opportunities). When we make peace with ourselves we ultimately make room for knowledge.