Going to university was the best way for me to get the qualifications and experience I needed to become a successful engineer, but I’ve realised that being a student is about so much more than the degree you get at the end. \r\n\r\nIt’s about learning new things, making friends and figuring out who you are as an adult. A lot of the lessons I’ve learned outside of the classroom have been just as valuable as what I’ve learned about my subject. \r\n\r\nAs cliché as it sounds, university has changed my life for the better. As an Electronics and Communication Engineering student at Lovel Professional University in India, here are the six biggest lessons I’ve learned: \r\n\r\nHow to be independent \r\n\r\nWhen I first arrived at university, I was overwhelmed by the independence that came with living away from home. For the first time in my life, I was responsible for managing my own time, budget, and workload. \r\n\r\nIt can take a while to get used to, but it became incredibly empowering for me. I have learned how to juggle all of my responsibilities and still make time for the things I enjoy. \r\n\r\nHaving to do everything for myself helped me to grow into a more confident person. I have learned to trust my own judgement and to stand up for myself when necessary. I also choose things that take me out of my comfort zone, both in my academic work and in my personal life. \r\n\r\nLast semester I took a maths class knowing I’m not particularly good at it. Failing the class would have been a risk to my overall success on my course, but I chose to push myself and with hard work and believe in myself, it paid off. \r\n\r\nTime management is essential \r\n\r\nAs an added bonus to my newfound independence, my time management skills have improved significantly. \r\n\r\nIn high school, I would often procrastinate on assignments and end up scrambling to finish them at the last minute. Now that I\u0027m juggling a full course load, a part-time job and extracurricular activities, I\u0027ve had to get much better at time management to stay on top of everything. \r\n\r\nI set aside time each week to plan out my upcoming assignments and tasks. I\u0027ve also become much better at using my time wisely and not letting myself get distracted by other things when I should be studying. \r\n\r\nAs an engineer, I will be expected to work on complex projects with a great deal of planning, many moving parts and tight deadlines. Learning better time management now will ensure that I can complete projects on time and within budget. \r\n\r\nIt\u0027s okay to ask for help \r\n\r\nWe all need help at some point whether at home, school or work, but I used to feel shy or stupid asking questions when I thought I should be able to understand things myself. \r\n\r\nThe story of the old Ojibwe chief and his son is a great example to highlight the importance of asking for help when needed. The chief challenges his son to move a rock if he is to become the new chief, but the son’s strength alone is not enough. It is only with his father’s help that the rock moves, teaching him that you cannot truly lead without the help of others. \r\n\r\nThere have been many times when I\u0027ve been struggling with an assignment or a concept in class, and reaching out to a friend or professor for help has made all the difference. I realised that asking for help doesn\u0027t make me weak, it shows that I\u0027m willing to learn and grow. \r\n\r\nIt’s also something that is encouraged at university with group projects and opportunities for collaboration with course mates, as it’s reflective of life in the workplace. \r\n\r\nThe importance of building a network \r\n\r\nOne of the great things about university is the diversity of the student body. There are students from all different backgrounds and cultures, with a wide range of experiences and perspectives. \r\n\r\nAt first, I was a bit intimidated by studying with so many people, but once I settled in I realised everyone is in the same boat. I’ve learned so much from my friends, coursemates and even lecturers from all different backgrounds. \r\n\r\nI\u0027ve also come to realise that networking is important, both professionally and socially. Many of the professors at university know people in the industry and can help you to find internships, or opportunities once you graduate. My Control Systems lecturer helped me to get my first internship. One of my friends was able to get a job at a company because she knew someone who worked there. \r\n\r\nNetworking is a valuable skill that I hope to continue to develop throughout my career. On a personal level, I\u0027ve made some great friends who I know I can count on. \r\n\r\nCritical thinking and problem-solving \r\n\r\nCritical thinking is about solving problems, being creative and thinking in more abstract and conceptual ways than simply learning facts. \r\n\r\nCritical thinking is something that universities encourage from their students because it makes us challenge the course material, ask important questions and learn new things from each other. It brings fresh perspectives to the table. \r\n\r\nMy engineering classes are conducted using problem-based learning, where we learn by solving issues and exchanging ideas in a cooperative environment. The teacher acts as a facilitator, providing resources and guiding us through the process of finding our own solutions. \r\n\r\nI know that these skills will be essential in the corporate world where I will need to assess problems and come up with innovative solutions on a daily basis. \r\n\r\nDiscover yourself beyond your degree \r\n\r\nThere are so many opportunities available at university, from joining societies and clubs to taking up new hobbies. This is a chance to explore different interests and find out what you\u0027re really good at. \r\n\r\nI was part of the Shalom society that focused on giving clothes to children in need. I was also a member of the English club, and we used to go for picnics. From these experiences, I learned that I\u0027m passionate about giving back to the community and helping others. \r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nNow that I\u0027m in my final year of university, I can honestly say that it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I\u0027ve grown and learned so much, both as a student and as a person. And I know that the skills and knowledge I\u0027ve acquired will stay with me long after I graduate. \r\n\r\nSo if you\u0027re considering going to university, don\u0027t hesitate. It truly is a life-changing experience.