On August 26th, 2013, I started my university experience at University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, in Barbados. (Caribbean island) It was my first time living away from home independently. My last exam is in a few hours, soon I would have completed my first semester at university! What a challenge it has been.
What was your university/ tertiary education experience like? Were there any significant differences or lesson that would help post first semester? Leave a comment below, let me know.
What I’ve learned:
Twenty minutes is actually an hour here in Barbados
If you buy green bananas you cannot eat them the same night
When you buy green bananas, which you most certainly would, wrap them in newspapers so they get ripe faster.
Umbrellas keep your face dry; not much else.
Verify all bus directions, even if a bus driver gives them to you
Living on campus is more convenient than living off campus.
Campus food will not taste like home food.
When you lend someone your pen you are not getting it back.
Charge you cell phone if you intend to use it.
My accent is not the typical accent of Trinidadians.
Don’t buy groceries for three weeks in advance
Don’t sit on the gallery at 1am with a Mac Book
Living a 40 minute walk from campus means that you have to make a 40 minute walk everyday, 80 minutes if you don’t get the campus shuttle back.
Not walking 40 minutes each way every day because you have moved on campus while maintaining you eating habits and not adding extra exercise leads to an inevitable weight gain.
Don’t rent an apartment based on pictures; go see it.
The fairer your skin the better you are treated and the higher the price of vendor’s goods rise.
If you like looking at sunsets then don’t take classes at that time; you’ll miss either the sunset or class
You will meet people that I would want to be near to for life; life doesn’t work that way and if it does you would not know until it’s happening.
You’ll meet friends from around the world if you speak to the exchange students.
It’s easy to just stick with your native people if you’re at a school away from home.
When mom says that she’ll call me later it’s comfort to her, not an action that’s going to come to pass.
If you break the rules you’ll get the consequences.
Remember the rules; act accordingly.
Be accountable for yourself.
Laundry doesn’t wash itself. Mentally doing it doesn’t clean it either.
Your favourite towel will get stolen if you leave your clothes in the machines unattended.
Housemates may be fun or they may not be fun.
People will remember your actions both good and bad.
Year 3 students and Intro year students have different priorities, very different priorities.
They (the guys) will know that you are a freshman.
Your party people most likely aren’t going to be there when it’s time to study.
You can be part of many different social circles at university, unlike at secondary school.
Learn to say “No!” Learn to say it in a variety of manners to apply to different situations.
Everyone has a secret, a back story, a problem; treat each other endearingly and with compassion. We’re pretty much fragile.
You will make friends so different to others that you’ve had.
What I’m thankful for:
>Finding a friend who is different from the others and embraces that
>Letting God enter my life
> Meeting people from many of the Caribbean islands and across the world
>Beautiful, white sand, blue water beaches
>My granny who prayed for me ceaselessly over the past four months
>The one time I got to sail
>A lookout over the sea, an ideal study spot that no one uses besides me
>The University of California Study Room
> The cricket oval
>Warm weather; most of my friends are in Canada, England and Northern USA
>New music from the world across
>Campus Crusade for Christ
>Making dinner with friends
>Starting to learn to surf, yet again.
>ESSO 24 hour gas station. Good for: post party pizza, study break pizza and ‘I’m having a bad night’ pizza. Also any other excuse for 3am pizza.
> A surf break down the hill from my school.
What I’ve come to appreciate:
> My truck back at home.
>Sitting together as a family to eat dinner.
>Friends who don’t have accent
>Friends who understand my speech >A bedroom that I can do a cartwheel in
>Warm meals that taste good
>A bathroom for myself
>Spontaneous family sailing trips to the other islands; Grenada especially
>A sound secondary school education
>Inexpensive food, fuel, utilities, inexpensive everything!
>My wealth of knowledge of Caribbean history
>Fruits that can be consumed on the same day they were bought
>Doing laundry for free
>Having a drier that dries laundry on one cycle.