By Arti Ramroop
The thought of university is one that makes students jump for joy. It is an opportunity to meet new people, deviate from wearing the same uniform every day, and of course, there is fast food on campus. The courses one can take and the clubs one can join are many.
The thought of attending the University of the West Indies was quite an exciting one for me, however the reality of it quickly set in. I went from getting out of bed after sunrise to leaving my home at sunrise to get to lectures on time. Although tiring, my body soon adjusted to the early hours. I was thankful for the many food options, and the new friends from all over Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean islands.
After asking some of my newfound friends about their experience at university, I realised that I was not alone. Andrê Albert, a student from St. Lucia, explained that coping with the work is not hard, but things got a bit difficult when he realised he had to cook and clean all by himself. Prior to starting university, he heard negative opinions about working in groups and of one student having to pick up the slack of others. Albert admitted that he has not experienced this problem and that he is quite comfortable with group work.
Other students indicated that their experience at university was like a roller coaster ride. One second year student stated, “There are assignments that make you feel as if you will never see the end of them, but the overall atmosphere of university is inexplicable. The people you meet are amazing and they will make coping with the workload a bit easier.” Another student interviewed just after finals laughingly admitted, “Although the university was busy with every student searching for the ideal place to study and some of us surviving in coffee after pulling ‘all-nighters’, we managed to make it to final exams…that is the most important thing.”
The experience took an interesting toll on another student. Alec Jaggernauth admitted that making friends was his biggest struggle and it became frustrating as he constantly tried to find people only to realise he could not relate to them. He eventually found a passion and an opportunity to develop holistically when he contested and won the position of UWI Geography Club Vice President (2018-2019).
When asked about her experiences, a Siparia student said, “Becoming a university student is a great accomplishment, however, I faced numerous obstacles. There is a vast difference between the level of deductive skill required at secondary level versus that of tertiary. It was very difficult for me to be able to adapt but living on campus made it easier. Being constantly involved in cultural and gaming clubs allowed me to meet different people and experience the fun and relaxing part of university. It has been difficult, but I believe that if one is able to find a balance between work and play, one can successfully make it through the years.’
University is a culture shock where one suddenly realises that adulthood rapidly approaching. One must keep an open mind regarding everything. Hard work and tremendous effort are vital o one’s success but there are times when one will have immense fun. At university, one will create memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy the journey!
In 2015 Arti Ramroop became a household name in Trinidad and Tobago as the holder of 21 CSEC Passes. Following her CAPE success, she enrolled as a student of the University of the West Indies, where she is presently pursuing a Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Mathematics and Physics, as a 2017 Open Scholarship Recipient.
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