The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) commenced its indefinite nationwide strike on the 5th of November. After a week of the commencement, the federal government is yet to begin any dialogue with the union over the ongoing strike.
While it is true that the current ASUU strike or any other national strike may possess negative effects on students, it can be a blessing in disguise if judiciously utilized. In other words, the period of the strike can be channelled for self-developmental exercises or purposes.
Below are 5 ways a student can maximize the tremendous opportunities that exist in the period of the strike. Upon resumption, you will discover a big difference between yourself and that colleague of yours who was profligate with his time during the strike.
- Learn a new skill
Have you been wanting to learn a new skill but you haven’t been able to due to your busy schedule with coursework before the strike. Then this is the best opportunity to learn the skill. Don’t be tempted to remain idle, thinking the strike would be called off soon. While it is good to hope for the best, we should also prepare for the worst by avoiding procrastination and getting to work immediately. Even if the strike is called off not too long after you started, you can always build upon the little knowledge you have acquired later on. Skills that can be learnt can either be soft or hard skills, some of which includes; listening and communicating skills, learning a musical instrument, computer software, and a technical skill e.t.c.
- Sharpen already acquired skills
Some already possess skills that have not been fully been developed or sharpened, hence, this period should be one to hone those skills of yours or better still fan them to flame. I must note here that it is better to build the skills you already have rather than learning new ones. This is because an average in all is a conqueror of none to buttress the apophthegm that says ‘Jack of all trade, master of none’. So, develop that skill(s) you already have, you can be sure it will pay off later in life. Meet with people who are better than you or volunteer to work with an organization where your skills can be improved. Don’t be discouraged if you are not paid, because ‘what you learn will stay longer than what you earn and what you learn today will earn many things for you later on’.
- Read books
The power and benefits of reading books cannot be overemphasized. There are 2 categories of those who read books (excluding academic books), they are seasonal readers and frequent readers. However, there is still a sizeable number of persons who find it difficult to read books or see no reason why they should be read. Well, whether you are seasonal or no-time-reader, you can improve your mind and broaden your knowledge through books. Why not borrow books from friends or walk into a bookshop to get books on some specific theme such as career, business, relationship e.t.c. Note, the books you buy aren’t for decoration, it is meant to be read and transform the lives of the reader. A great teacher once said ‘You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read’.
- Work as a freelancer
Trust me, every student needs money. You can supplement money received from parents, family members, loved ones by using the skills you have developed over time to make money. Apart from the money you would be paid, freelancing also helps to build your portfolio and create a niche for yourself. Freelancing jobs include web designing and developing, marketing, photography, writing, proofreading, or any other service you can render. There are popular freelancing sites you can subscribe to for freelancing jobs, such as Fiverr, Flexjobs, Freelancer etc. Freelancing can be balanced with academics to also supplement money coming from home or for self-funding purposes even during school periods.
- Join a volunteering group
Volunteering is a means of adding value to others, that is, serving yourself to the world. While many see no reason to volunteer for family, community or national development, others harness the enormous benefits it possesses for a participant. Volunteering provides a platform to meet new people, build your network and expose you to people with common interests and goals. Other benefits include; creating a sense of fulfilment and purpose, developing your social and interpersonal skills and keeping you mentally stimulated. Volunteering opportunities may be found in community theatres, service organizations such as the SDG group, Anti-HIV club, youth organizations and places of worship such as churches etc. Volunteering should also be a platform to ask questions and build your leadership skills.