‘Let your mind expand with new and exciting thoughts and dreams so that it can never return to its original dimensions.’
As Student Wellness Representative and founder of The#LOVEproject, Jonathan Kibe (Class of 2016) welcomed old and new students to campus with some key tips to thriving within the ALA Community.
Here we go (in no particular order)…
1 You’ve got this (and it’s okay to feel like you don’t, sometimes). You’re absolutely ready for ALA and what this school year brings! You’ve got it within you to go through this year. Convince yourself of this truth even when it gets hard.
2 Study hard. Make it your goal to actually learn stuff (and if you get good grades in the process, great!) Make sure you BUILD (lol) a diligent culture NOW for your future!
3 Schedule your time according to priorities (and make sure to slot in time for rest, play and socialising) You will have to budget your time carefully; try your best to live by a schedule rather than what you feel like doing at the time. Keeping yourself organized will relieve a huge stressor from your head.
4 Eat and sleep (and if one gets cut short for a bit, make sure you’re doing the other). There’s nothing like a cranky, hungry teenager! Getting enough sleep makes it so much easier to learn and always keeps you in good spirits. And food is your fuel for success in thinking and sport!
5 Respect others in the community (and what is theirs). Be wary of what you say or do and its potential to offend another. You will most definitely clash with others but be quick to receive correction and to make amends. Also, do not take what is not yours (or borrow without permission, even for 2 minutes). Always ask; most of the time the answer is “Yes!”
6 Groom yourself and keep your room neat. This would be the best time to stop the habit of leaving clothes on the floor (if you do). Putting stuff away will give you a sense of accomplishment. Take regular showers, use deo and always leave washrooms cleaner than you found them.
7 Stay in touch (but don’t worry about home). Things will be super busy and some days so packed you won’t have time to think straight. But use your phone to holler at your family and friends back home even if only for a quick update or hello. They would love to know what is happening at school and in your life. Plus, trust me, it will be good for your soul to reconnect. Home misses you terribly!
8 Go slow on serious relationships (because if it’s truly good, it will work better that way, anyway). Some kids will glom onto you because you’re awesome and they want you to be their bestie. Be cautious about anyone who wants an exclusive relationship with you, or who isn’t kind to others, even if they’re nice to you. Make lots of friends. Avoid cliques.
9 Dream big (even when you’re surrounded by people who are acting like small-minded thinkers). You are put on this planet to be a world changer. Some around you may not be as globally minded and may discredit your dreams. Always carry the secret that you know life is about so much more. Let your mind expand with new and exciting thoughts and dreams so that it can never return to its original dimensions.
10 Say “NO” as often as you can (to make room for the best “YES”es). Remember in ALA there will be infinite opportunities, clubs, friends and trips out than you can say yes to. Every NO you utter makes room for a greater, better YES. Consider opportunities carefully.
11 Take the time to stay organised (but forgive yourself if things get sloppy sometimes). As mentioned before, try to abide by a schedule; time is a precious resource at ALA. However, if sometimes things get out of hand and you lag behind on your timeline, don’t be too harsh on yourself! Treat yourself kindly.
12 Have fun (but never at someone else’s expense). Everything you do (or do not do) has an effect on another person. In all your actions, be mindful on how it could impact others, eg smiling at someone or leaving your plate outside after lunch.
13 Make time for spiritual stuff in your schedule every week. In whatever way you do it, make sure your spiritual journey is not neglected. Make time for soul searching, meditating, praying and building your inner strength. And if possible, do so with people who share similar beliefs. It will give you great inner peace and strength to push through any challenges you may face and put you at peace with the world around.
14 Look on ALA as a privilege (it will help you get more out of it). In Dean Hatim’s words, “You deserve to be here,” and simultaneously, “Here deserves you to be.” ALA is a rare privilege many aren’t given. Someone is paying great costs for you to be here. And as much as you are here to be developed, leave your mark as well. Change ALA for the better, it is also in need of it. Start that club, run that workshop. In whatever way, make sure you left your stamp in regards to things you love!
15 Don’t be quick to take the conventional route (unless it truly is your passion). Coming to ALA in First Year, there were a couple of things I said I had to do: Student Government, Student Ambassador, Honor Council, etc… Understand that there is nothing wrong with these – but examine your intentions. Is it for the prestige and CV? Or are you genuinely excited to serve the community in these capacities?
Make memories and don’t be afraid to be the one aiming everyone toward simple wholesome activities like picnics, a walk, jamming to Ed Sheeran or throwing a Frisbee. Spice up your ALA journey with some spontaneous and planned fun.
Don’t be afraid to take uncharted paths and bring change there. Be YOU in everything you commit to.
What would you add to the list? Share your ALA Life Hacks with us!