• Chantal Porter

My University Experience in a Nutshell- Life at UWI Mona

Updated: Apr 14, 2019

Life in University was not the easiest! I can speak for most when I say it was a whirlwind of struggles, laughter, sadness, happiness and more. The first day was really the hardest. I packed my suitcase and my mom took me to the University of the West Indies, Mona. At the time, I was not necessarily sure, where I'd stay or how we would even pay for my stay. Nevertheless, that initial struggle worked out, and I was granted residency on The Aston Preston Hall. It was my first time living outside my mother's home so I was beyond scared, yet undeniably excited.

Life on the Aston Preston Hall

My first night on Preston hall was indeed very interesting. I got a tour of the hall, and I met my housemates. That very night I was invited to their nightly orientation exercises which I was not very fond of initially. I soon realized, however, how important they were to building team morale and oneness, and I became a happy camper. The Aston Preston hall really became my home away from home. After the orientation, the real work began and it was more than what I had expected. I battled with illnesses, during the first two years at university, and after a while, I felt like I would never fit in. The workload became unbearable at times and it was a difficult to strike a balance. I met some amazing new friends during that time, but I also lost a lot of friendships that were really dear to my heart.

Selecting my major

I also struggled between courses because I was still unsure of what I wanted to do. I tried courses at the Social Sciences Faculty as well as CARIMAC. To be honest, CARIMAC felt like home, but I could not bear the pressure of starting over. I eventually decided to stick with Geography because it was familiar, and I could complete it within the three years that I had dedicated to a Bachelors degree programme at the UWI. Most of my nights in my final year of university were spent studying over a cup of coffee. I challenged myself to bring my GPA to a level that I was comfortable with and I was tested every step of the way.

Financial situation

Financially, it was also very rough, given my background. I was unable to afford a laptop at the time so I ensured that I maximized on the time I spent in the computer labs. My mom, dad, now husband :-), stepfather, grandmother, aunts, and uncles all pitched in when they could to lessen the burden. I was also blessed to have a church family and a lovely friend that offered some assistance as well. It was a indeed a team effort! In those moments when I struggled, I kept my eyes on the end result. I still have a lot more things to accomplish, things that need to be checked off my list, but I am steadily working towards them.

I decided to share this story with the hope that I can inspire someone. I have learned that if it were easy everybody would be doing it, and every setback is a setup for a comeback. Keep pushing forward, your dreams are right around the corner. Remember to live a life filled with gratitude and appreciation for your, loved ones, friendships, relationships, your accomplishments, nature, and even the smallest of blessings.

Here are 5 major lessons that I learned from my university experience.

  • Be thankful for what you have because it is better than having nothing at all.

  • Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination will lead you down the path of failure and keep you there.

  • You have got what it takes to face any problem and come out victorious.

  • Be prepared to answer when opportunity knocks at your door.

  • People need people. You cannot do everything on your own

If you decide to take on the harsh reality that is tertiary education I need you to remember this bonus lesson:

HAVE FUN!!!!!!

Sadly a lot of us leave our homes and head to universities where we imprison ourselves. Your years at university must feel fulfilling or else you will find it difficult to cope.

Coffee- Saving the lives of students since............

"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."- Colin Powell

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