Career outreach programme bears fruit

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How did you get to know about Uganda Christian University? (Graph by Career Development and Placement office)

BY AGATHA MUHAISE

Eleven percent of the first-year students that joined the university this semester found out about it through the career outreach programmes, a survey carried out by the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Career Development and Placement office at the main campus, Mukono, has said.

The career development office has been conducting outreaches in secondary schools countrywide since 2014. Although none was conducted in 2015, they resumed in 2016 between March and August. The survey was done to find out the impact of the programme.

“From a sample size of 500 first-year students who were asked a series of questions including howtheyfoundoutabout UCU, it shows that the outreaches impacted 56 of the 500 test subjects to come to UCU,” reads the report from the Career Development and Placement Officer, Connie Musisi, in part.

“Career outreach and exhibitions came in fourth place to other sources like friends and relatives, students and staff of UCU; and the media (radio, television and newspapers) respectively,” the survey says.

Ms Musisi informed The Standard that the outreach was a success.

“Given that the careers office has been in place for three years and we have done only two outreaches, the fact that we captured that many students is a bigsuccess for us,” she said.

Mr Alex Taremwa, one ofthecontributorsto the university outreach programme, said that the programme is aimed at improving the corporate social responsibility endeavours of the institution by extending career guidance to students in upper level secondary schools.

“The 2016 outreach ran under the theme ‘Making Hostilic Career Choices’ in different districts around Uganda such as Arua, Koboko, Bushenyi, Mbarara,Kabale,Gulu, Oyam, Lira, Mbale, Kapchwora, among others,” Taremwa said.

Some of the topics covered included drug abuse, sex education, health and hygiene, career development and academics. The Standard has learnt will be launched next topics than the previous that the next session of year. This will be one, in a bid to reach more the outreach programme packaged with more students countrywide.

Achieving academic excellence at campus

BY PRISCA AMONGIN

I trust that the first year students have settled into class and most of us are adjusting to this academic setting. In the recent issue of The Standard, the Vice Chancellor, Dr John Senyonyi, clearly spelt out some of the guidelines for the first year students from a moral and spiritual perspective.Here are a few highlights for adjusting to the academic environment, and successfully complete your studies.

https://thestandarducu.files.wordpreshttps://thestandarducu.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/page-13.jpg?w=1462s.com/2016/09/page-13.jpg?w=1462You will be interacting with words like: coursework, tutorials, GPA, among others. I assure you it is possible for anyone to attain a first class or a good second upper degree if you devote time and effort to your studies.

By the time you are admitted to a specific course, it means that you are able to excel.

Do not only wait for the exams timetable to come out before you start reading. At UCU, excelling commences right from the course work results.

It is much easier to score an A+ if by the time you get to the exams you already have good coursework grades. Therefore, excelling academically starts with your first assignment, in the first semester of your first year.

Secondly, at university, you need to work smart even as you work hard. Focus on keenness.

Listen attentively, listen for details. For example if a lecturer asks you to research about a particular topic, put emphasis on that, because it is most likely you will be examined from that area. Also, take note of the key points discussed in class.

At the university it is rare that you will write notes the way we did in high school. You have to fend for yourself and probably your lecturer will not ask you to do this. The onus is upon you to research and take notes.

Another secret is discovering what the lecturer is interested in. Study the examples they cite in their work and use those as reference points even in your coursework.

I know you might be still trying to understand your lecturers, but do not think too much about that.

Focus and accept them already, without prejudice that could block your attention. For example, it is evident that dislike for someone could make you fail a subject.

Work in teams with your classmates, engage in different discussion groups. University is a place where teamwork and sharing yield synergy and push you to heights you would never have scaled on your own.

Also, there is a bulk of information in the library. Make use of the internet, and research extensively.

Lastly, make time to serve God and his people.

This could be in one of the ministry platforms at UCU, through sports, MDD, charity work, among others. Desist from time wasting, destructive behaviour and bad company. Choose to be an exceptional student; choose success.

The writer is a second year student of Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Accounting

Treading the right academic journey

AJVLife is a journey and the same can be said of academics. I imagine a time when we could hardly walk, talk, write or even make sense of our surroundings! But surprisingly we have continued to grow physically and academically.

This Advent Semester brings to us yet another new cohort of students. Some will be camped at UCU for two years, three or even four years, depending on the course they are pursuing.

This long period of academic struggle needs a deeper realization of our purpose and objective for our life. Often applicants pray unceasingly to God to be considered for a course.

When we are admitted we feel a fulfilling joy. But as we move by and by, the dangers of getting used to the process set in. This situation is also known as institution and course familiarity.

This situation affects a learner in remaining pegged to the primary objective for achieving the intended goals.

One often gets used to the environment or course that if one is not careful he/she may bow down to poor performance. In life consistency is key, not only in academia but also daily today commitment.

In psychology it is claimed that familiarity breeds contempt! I agree with this notion. However, it is possible to overcome the above dilemma in the following ways:

Keep focused on your primary objective of your end goal. It’s good to continuously reflect on why we are where we are.

Seek for counselling from the Chaplaincy, peers, the counselling and guidance office or career office. This may also download our worries and eventually help us to move forward.

The strategy of life is to always rekindle our zeal or morale. Just like the way a car’s tire can almost deflate only to be brought to life by pumping in new air, so is the academics journey. Amidst all prayer is key.

In Matthew 7:7, Jesus gives us a way out. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you,” he said.

Determination will lead us to the Promised Land if we keep in Christ as he keeps in us by the his grace.

The writer is a lecturer in the Foundations Studies Department at Uganda Christian University

How to prepare for examinations

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Ms. Connie Musisi

When we are well-prepared for exams, we often excel but when we are ill-prepared, disorganised or confused, we end up failing. Therefore, it is important that by this time of the semester you are simply putting final touches to your preparations. CONNIE MUSISI writes.

The following tips will further guide you to cope during exam:

Before the exam

  • Get a good night’s sleep. It may be tempting to stay up all night and revise but if you are tired, your brain will not function properly. When you get a good night’s sleep, your brain will be alert and you will recall more material.

Even during the revision period, get enough rest. Periodic breaks as you revise are essential.

  • Find time to relax. Relaxation is a vital part of the revision process. Physical activity, such as jogging or aerobics, can stimulate your brain into more activity when you are trying to remember a lot of information.
  • Eat a good meal. Exam time is not for snacks. Our bodies use a lot of calories during this time; so feed right. Avoid oily and fatty foodstuffs, and do not consume alcohol.
  • Make sure you know the exam venue beforehand. Find time to carefully study the exams timetable. Acquaint yourself with the time and venue of the exam to avoid inconveniences.
  • Practise writing basic notes on topics you think may crop up. This will help your initial preparation when in the exam room. When you get to work on a question, you will have learned the skill of listingthe main points to cover. That way, forgetfulness will not be an issue halfway through the paper as you can simply refer to the brief list you prepared.
  • Read (and attempt) past exam papers. When you read through the papers, see how the questions are worded and try to grasp what is being asked of you. Look for any recurring themes across past papers so you have an idea of the kind of topics that crop up again and again.

During the exam

  • Stay calm and relaxed. Look at the questions carefully. Prayer is very important. Putting God in charge of everything is the right thing to do. But remember, God has a role to play and so do you. If you spent the whole semester in bars and nightclubs instead of class and the library, do not expect God to liberate you from your ignorance!
  • Do not panic! If you cannot think straight, stop trying to concentrate for a few seconds. Take a few deep breaths and start again. When you calm down, make basic notes to help you get back on track. If you fail to settle down completely, get a toilet break or ask to be escorted out of the room for a breather. Walking away from the exam room may sound like a waste of time, but a massive panic attack is even worse!
  • Do not revise as you walk into the exam room. If it is not in now, it will not go into your head with seconds to spare. If you study in advance, you can avoid this ever happening.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to the exam venue. Get to the exam room with time to spare. Make sure you have all that is required. This includes more than one functioning pen, your passbook, a laptop where applicable. Avoid carrying illegal material like notes and mobile phones.
  • Read over the answers when done. Give yourself a few minutes before the exam ends to make sure you are happy with what you have written. Even if you do not change anything, it is better to check and be sure.
  • Finally, do not beat yourself up. No matter how you fare in the exam, let it go. Trust that you did what you could and you have to draw a line under it. Look to the future, not the past.

I wish you success in your exam, and may the Lord guide you.

Establishing yourself as graduate of value

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CONNIE MUSISI

It is time to exit to the corporate world, and we believe a degree from this institution will open numerous doors for you and strengthen your chances for success as you enter the next stage in life, writes CONNIE MUSISI.

On this day as you graduate, we can only say, “To God be the glory for the great things He has done.”

You have come a long way from the day you applied to join the university, got shortlisted, attended an interview with panelists whom you thought had been staged to frustrate you, passed and got admitted to this great institution.

Although your achievements thus far are great, there are still more challenges for you to overcome.

The education that you have attained is invaluable, and it will equip you how to handle the unique rigors of life.

For example, if you expect to get out of university and easily find a job, it may not be so. You may have to write more than 150 job applications; and when you land an entry level job typically reserved for fresh graduates with less work experience, go for it! Then purpose to work hard.

Also, keep the following in mind, and your degree will bear fruit:

  • Character: What do you want to be known for? As the bad guy in the community? The things you do are indicators of your character. Remember talent is a gift but manners are a choice. They will bring lasting success for you in life. If you want success, manners are the foundation on which to build your success.
  • Determination and commitment: How do you spend your time? Do you do the right thing at the right time? “Not another timetable in life after UCU’s lecture timetable!” you may say, but scheduling your life will streamline your path in life.
  • Change your talk: It is time you painted your talk with bright colours of optimism. There are many graduates who always paint their talk with colours of unemployment pessimism, but UCU graduates are a No.1 brand, sought after by employers.
  •  Kick laziness out of your life. Show up every day with energy ready to work. As you go out into the world, know that it is the beginning of the learning curve, keep learning, growing and improving.
  • Be courageous and have the strength to say to yourself, “I can do it and must make it.” UCU has not been a place of the uncourageous. That you are graduating today means you have courage. So go forth with it.
  • Now that you have graduated, put an end to student’s mannerisms and the dependency syndrome. You now have to make a living for yourself and earn your keep! Be good to people. One of the issues that you ought to have learnt and practised here is generosity.
  • A whole week in the course of each semester is always dedicated to acts of generosity, like “Save-a-buddy”. Let your candle burn brighter and also light others.
  • Listen to the elders, including those you feel and think are less important in your life. Your certificate comes with pomp and pride, but maturity comes with wisdom.
  • Finally, go with a positive attitude towards life. Problems and challenges will be there as a matter of fact but we trust that you will succeed. Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

The Writer is the Career Development and Placement Officer

Learn to reciprocate your parents’ love

AJV

JOHN VIANNEY AHUMUZA

Recently a friend of mine explained to me a dilemma his family friend is experiencing in Katanga Zone near Makerere University. A certain lady lost her husband, at a time when the majority of her siblings were young. However, she managed to educate all her children, as well as her siblings, up to Makerere University.

The lady was also an employee of the same university. However none of her siblings and children ever associated with her because they considered her station in life lower than theirs. Irrespective of this, she remained committed to educating her siblings.

When one of her daughters completed her degree she was employed in Wandegeya but refused to stay with her mother at their home in Katanga. She opted to rent an apartment in Muyenga at Shs500, 000 monthly. The daughter was ashamed of staying with an aged parent.

This experience is not uncommon in our society today. The fifth commandment reminds us of the role we have in respecting our parents. Parents are God’s representatives on earth.

In fact the Bible tells us that the reward for respecting parents will be long life.

I am always humbled by Jesus’ character towards his father. The gospel accounts clearly tell us how Jesus respected his parents on earth, and in the final journey of the passion of the cross and specifically the last moments on the cross, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” This reveals the special relationship Jesus had with the father.

At UCU we aim at developing students’ critical thinking through offering them a complete education.

This implies that graduation does not mean the end of the closeness between students and their parents.

It is ideal for parents to allow their children, upon graduation, to stay at home for accommodation and other needs in the transition to employment.

Similarly, it is the duty of the graduates to develop their homes and take them to greater heights. So the children, instead of focusing on keeping up appearances, should ask: where will our families be 50 years from now?

In responding to the above question, for instance, one will discover that it is irrational to rent a house at Shs1 million in a radius of less than a kilometre from one’s ancestral home yet the same amount of money could be used to improve the home.

And the free advice that you give to landlords on how best they can beautify their rentals can be applied to your family home.

This is what distinguishes knowledge from wisdom.

Let us empower our children to work harder and keep close to their families even upon graduation. Let us make them part of home businesses.

As for the graduates, let us be the salt and light of the world.

The writer is a lecturer at Foundations Studies Department

The place of a great institution in career choice

UCU

BY JOHN VIANNEY AHUMUZA

Have you ever imagined what it would mean to associate with history? Do you even know that attending a great institution or school airlifts one’s status to greater heights in professional practice? How much does the history of the institution you intend to join matter to you?

Let us first take a look at the following facts: the oldest, existing and continually operating educational institution in the world is the University of Karueein, founded in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco. The University of Bologna, Italy, was founded in 1088 and is the oldest one in Europe. The Sumerians had scribal schools or É-Dub-ba soon after 3500BC. In Uganda Makerere is the oldest university, established in 1922. 

Uganda Christian University (UCU) was founded in 1997 by the Anglican Church of Uganda, upgrading from the premier Bishop Tucker Theological College, which was established in 1913 and named after the pioneer missionary Bishop Alfred Robert Tucker.

UCU’s chancellor is the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali and the vice chancellor, Dr. John Senyonyi. The university was the first private one to be chartered in 2004 by the National Council for Higher Education.

UCU aims at producing graduates with a difference, as reflected in its grand mission of “A complete education for a complete person”.

There is hardly a company or institution that will not prefer a UCU graduate for employment given the opprotunity to choose.

I have traversed the country with the career team offering free career guidance to students in secondary schools as a way for UCU to give back to the community. Throughout these journeys, I was humbled by vibrant alumni that are found holding various offices across the country, serving the nation in their respective capacities.

This is the beauty of selecting UCU as a study institution. Lecturers and tutors go the extra mile in shaping the destiny of learners. 

Learners are equipped with communication skills and critical thinking is a key priority for the UCU teaching staff targets. Above all, the students are prepared to serve the world from a Christian perspective.

There is no doubt that Jesus continues to be the greatest prophet ever. He was so great yet humble in service.

This philosophy is enshrined in the UCU motto, “God the Beginning and the End.” This continues to provide a mirror through which our alumni and staff view and shape themselves in service delivery.

When you study at UCU your life will never be the same again. You will experience a life revolution that will impact your career dream for the better. Furthermore, your spiritual, social, economic as well as political empowerment shall be infinite, watering your life to eternity.

The writer is a lecturer at Foundations Studies Department 

Be accommodative at your work place

Every employee has the responsibility of stewardship with respect to workplace accommodation. Their role is to assist members so that there is harmony in the workplace, writes CONNIE MUSISI

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The last one month has been tense for me at work, until it crossed my mind that I had actually ‘humbly applied for the job’.

Recently I wanted to get accommodation (desk and chair) for a colleague. The idea was not welcome immediately but knowing the kind of people I was dealing with, I did not expect any better response. “An extra person will suffocate us! We are already many and the room is not well ventilated,” was the reaction I received.

This scenario reminded me of two comments by the university officers where one needed transport urgently to get errands done, but was told to use an ambulance. Really!

Workplace favouritism and persecution on any basis, is illegal. For example, discrimination on the basis of sex is illegal.

It is a requirement that all employees be accommodated (a place to stay during work hours) in the workplace, unless doing so would drastically endanger the employer’s operations.

The employer is obligated to provide an accommodation that meets an employee’s needs, but not necessarily her or his preferences. Appropriate accommodation is one which results from equal opportunity and respect for individual dignity.

Office accommodation can be temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances of the individual

What one should do is let your colleagues know that you are glad and comfortable enough to share facilities with you and do your best to assist them.

In case of differences, refer to an appropriate individual who can help, instead of being indifferent. While individual personalities vary, in case you are new in a work place, remember that there will be one or more individuals who will embrace and welcome the new kid on the block. So relate closely with those.

The supervisors can also reassure the person that is indifferent about the new arrangement of workplace accommodation. Point out to them that accommodation is not special treatment for anyone but simply a matter of employee rights.

Encourage staff that requires accommodation to speak out. Ironically, some employees are reluctant to come forward to acknowledge their own accommodation needs.

Although employees may decide to quietly work out their own space needs, such arrangements may not survive the next change of supervisor.

The issue of workplace accommodation is to be open and informed about the process. In your dealings with your colleagues, present it as a normal part of work relations, which it is.

Finally, the professional world of teamwork forces us to work together with co-workers we may not know. Those situations are fantastic opportunities to learn the ins and outs of another person and diversify your own professional experiences.

The teamwork rhythm you are used to may not be applicable in this new situation, but if you make a concerted effort to be accommodative, you should have no problem completing your tasks together.

The writer is the Career Development and Placement Officer

Travel: Outreach through a sojourner’s eye

Every morning begins the same for me: jogging, coffee, a crossword puzzle and a flip through the papers on my mobile phone, writes Alex Taremwa

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Arua’s main street on a busy mid-morning. Photos by Alex Taremwa

But there have been forced changes to this routine in the past three months as I traversed the country ,courtesy of the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Career Development and Placement office inspiring young people in secondary schools about making holistic career choices.

To prepare for life on the road, I packed three novels, a camera, two lenses, sneakers and the journalist’s companions – notebook and pen. On the first day I was up at 5 am but still I missed my transport.

The rest of the team had left without me and 1,000 copies of the best university community newspaper in East and Central Africa, The Standard .

Unaware of my predicament, I walked into the office and made a mug of coffee, which I sipped as I skimmed through the social media news feed.

At 6:30am, I decided to reach out to one of the members on the career team only to be informed that they were already in Jinja! Fast forward, the vehicle made a U-turn picked me and we were soon Arua bound.

Most of this 12-hour journey was used to compensate for my lost sleep. I woke up after every hour or so to alert a friend I made on the journey, Joseph Omonya, to the need to eat something. Joseph slept for most of the journey!

At Karuma Falls I tried to take a picture of the beautiful waters but I was warned that it was illegal. How then can I market Uganda’s tourism features without showing visual evidence?

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The Karuma Falls on River Nile.

The threat of arrest notwithstanding, I managed to capture the scenery and soon I was asleep again. 

Kampala-Arua is the farthest I have ever travelled by road and my patience wore thin with every passing kilometre. At some point when Vianney woke up from a seemingly disturbing dream, he murmured, “210kms to go!” I wished he had stayed asleep, how discouraging!

At midnight we finally made our entry into Arua town and checked in at California Hotel where we camped for the next eight days. The hotel was food free, electricity free and soon would be water free but the people were the opposite; welcoming, warm and friendly.

By the power vested in me, by me, I conferred a PhD in ironing using charcoal, to one of the team members. Over the days I saw why electricity had little relevance in this area. Sadly the same did not apply to water.

The resource was so badly needed yet scarce! Possibly that is why every smallest water body in Arua is called a river? So I made a mental note to sensitise the populace there about the difference between stream, tributary and river next time I visit.

The hissing trees 

One morning we set out to visit Yivu High School. All of us, except our navigator, Gilbert Adrapi, did not know where we were headed. After driving 55 kms out of town with no sight of a school, we were perplexed.

“Gilbert, where is the school we are going to?” a team member inquired. “Just here,” Gilbert responded pointing ahead. The ‘just ahead’ turned out to be another 20kms away so we consoled ourselves with views of communal huts, fuel sold by the roadside in mineral water bottles, ox ploughing and others breastfeeding.

When we arrived at the school we were welcomed by a hissing sound. It was as though there were hundreds of snakes in the trees. 

The sound intensified in tandem with the speed of wind. I then noticed that the sound came from a species of trees the school had planted in the compound. Since I did not have a lot of time to learn names of the trees, I named them – white explorer style – the ‘hissing trees of Arua’.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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UCU staff at the DRC-Uganda border, Vurra

 

There is boundary line between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is found at Vurra, in West Nile.

After visiting a school close to the border, the team unanimously agreed to cross the border on foot. We thought this would be a walk in the park, but then again we had not factored in the formalities required for the stroll.

The welcome on the Ugandan side was customary. We were ushered into packing, shown into the border police station for formal introductions. After we made our intentions known, a young man in his mid-20s offered two things free of charge: to walk us to the no-man’s land and to inform us that no pictures, sneezing or short calls were allowed across the line without a nod from the DRC officials. Talk of freedom and good neighborliness!

Not much fazed, we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. Standing on that land not claimed by anyone, we sipped our beverages and felt like international free men and women. The DRC officials later allowed us a brief tour of their side of the border, but still insisted that I take no photos and as a law-abiding fellow, I obliged.

Ox-tail and walking stick matooke 

We later strolled into O&S Restaurant for lunch and I immediately scanned the menu items and corresponding prices. There I landed on this rare item, the oxtail, which in all honesty I was afraid to try but cunningly asked a colleague to try so I could see what it actually looked like.

I signalled the waitress and ordered for the ‘normal stuff’; beef stew matooke and rice and then switched my attention back to the television. Soon

Vianney’s ox-tail arrived and I remember saying that it would take him two hours to clear the plate. “That cannot be just a tail,” I whispered to a neighbour who was busy charging his phone.

My order arrived just in time to save my taste buds, which were now about to lose the patience strugggle. However, I noticed the matooke looked strange. When I atempted a bite, the matooke was so hard and dry that I could use one as a walking stick if I wanted to.

After one or two fingers, I settled for enyasa (millet paste) and anyoya (a boiled mixture of maize and beans).

The team left Arua town at 5:30am in order to be in Kampala before nightfall. This was in a bid to get a few days of rest before heading for eastern Uganda, the next stop on our regional tour.

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Eastern Uganda: The writer at Nyero Rock Paintings, Kumi district.

Nyero paintings; a blend of God and the Batwa 

My geography lessons had introduced me to the Nyero Rock paintings in theory. But I had never been to there physically. So on our way to Serere, I asked the team if we could make a stop-over in Kumi to see the famous rock paintings dating to before 1250 AD. The paintings, largely attributed to the Batwa indigenous people, are a great tourist attraction.

They stretch out over six different rocks but we only managed to visit three, one of which is believed to be for fertility. After feeding my eyes on the rocks and how meticulously they are placed, I was convinced that they were really one of God’s great creations.

The following day was spent in Kapchorwa, a hilly and equally rocky area that forces roads to snake through the hills at the mercy of the driver. 

It takes brave souls to withstand the sharpness of the corners and the chills they send down one’s spine. The Sebei region, unlike West Nile, has good matooke to the extent that some of the team members who had been brought up in predominantly matooke growing areas bought a few bunches to bring home.

The matooke might have been good but I could not say the same about the roads. Our transport came to a standstill in Bukwo District through to Chemwaniya High School when the vehicle failed to climb a slippery hill on a dry sunny day. Extra manpower had to be used to enable us make it to our destination on time. Sadly, we did not stop by the Sipi Falls but from a distance I could hear the water roll over the rocks.

What if I don’t end up in my dream career?

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John Vianney Ahumuza addressing students during an outreach in Western Uganda. (Photo by Alex Taremwa)

BY JOHN VIANNEY AHUMUZA

The Uganda Christian University career outreach team recently traversed northern Uganda districts such as Lira, Oyam, Gulu, Pader, Kitgum and other neighbouring areas, to guide learners and teachers on making holistic career choices.

As every learner begins the long journey of pursuing your dream career, the subjects offered at O-level define the ladders to be followed in realizing that dream. Then comes two years of A-level pursuit, defined by choice of the selected combination

This stage is very critical in defining a career choice. The way one performs at A-level will usher one into a particular course at a tertiary institution. That decision of course eventually catapults the student into future professional practice and for some that will be their dream career realized.

In short for many, life begins and ends with knowing and realising a dream career. Short of achieving this may result in low output at work, frustration and grumbling.

This semester brings to UCU yet another cohort of new students. To some it is the first step on the journey of their dream career. For others it may be total frustration because they are undertaking a course contrary to their dream.

As a young student, my dream was to become a lawyer. I ensured that the back covers of my primary and secondary school books were decorated with this ambition. But at the end of my A-level, the story changed.

I was admitted to a Bachelors of Arts with Education degree. So I quickly changed my mind to focus on yet another dream of joining the military. In fact I stayed in the hostel an extra three weeks waiting to be recruited.

Every week the reporting dates were postponed. One week later, though I was called to report at home for some urgent assignment, by the time I came back all my friends’ phones were off and the rooms closed. I had missed recruitment (both my friends are captains in the air force now).

It is then that I realised that God wanted me to serve him the biblical Jonah way. I have since devoted my life to the teaching profession. This is a calling I do wholeheartedly. I am sometimes convinced that God inspires us to our dream career.

D e t e r m i n a t i o n , good performance and discipline are key. Remember, at university level degrees are classified according to performance. This is not different from shortlisting candidates for interviews!

My advice to new students is that your life is bigger than your imagination; follow your dream and live it.

The writer is a lecturer in the Foundation Studies Department