What should you expect after the last paper?
There'll be elation alright. Do not let it escape without exploring it. You're done. You're about to become a degree holder. Hit the beach with classmates (I actually did). Go horse back riding in the sea (I actually did). Take lots of pictures with the people you studied with or go home and get some rest. Eat chocolate in bed - whatever takes your fancy! I would advise riding this wave of elation for as long as possible because sadly it will end..
What should you do?
1. Close the tabs
2. Get rid of the many little notes and post-its
3. Pack your books away
4. Tidy your room (if like me you litter when you study)
What shouldn’t you do?
1. Permanently give your books away. No matter what you study in college you might need a peek into your texts again and if like me what you studied was law, binning your books in a fit of after-exams euphoria will be completely counterproductive.
2. You don't have to leave your WhatsApp groups! If you’ve made friends in those groups, other UoL students from other countries or are just not ready to press the exit button don't feel pressurised into leaving before you're ready.
3. In relation to the above, you could ask for alumni group links and join those instead.
Some other things to expect:
I studied with the University of London with an independent institution. Every chance I had I opted out of debates organized by the school, moot court sessions and other activities. I thought why bother? Too much hassle. All that matters is the degree anyway. So I stayed in my room, with my nose in my books and if I attended any of those things I mentioned earlier I did so as a spectator.
I regret this. If you ever want to influence any worthwhile change in whatever society or profession you find yourself you most likely will need to make public speeches, and if you ever want to be a good public speaker you've got to publicly speak often. If you ever want to work well in groups you've got to mingle and network. Don't be like me. Use the opportunities available to you.
Remember when you were asked to constructively criticise during say your dissertation, and you might not have seen the point? You'll eventually thank the university. Writing reports will require constructive criticism. Writing academic essays will require constructive criticism. Being productive will require constructive criticism. You’ll soon find you will need to apply constructive analysis in every aspect of life. This will be a skill which you rely on in your future career, wherever that may be.
I'll wrap up my article with this quote from King James I, which I find quite interesting:
"Were I not a king, I would be a university man"
So, above all, savour it all.
Sonia is studying the Bachelor of Laws in Ghana.