Dear Incoming MRU Freshman, This Is What College Will Mean To You. By Lukonge Achilees

They tell you about the pure and unhindered eagerness to be independent, and how it feels to finally be unchained from the childhood that kept you sheltered from the wild nights and unlikely friendships. They tell you about the people you meet, the places you go. The intriguing, the impressive. The ecstatic, the preposterous. Yet, there are many things they, perhaps, forget to reveal.

Like the many nights you might cry yourself to sleep, silently of course, because you no longer share a room with only your shadow. The seemingly unfeasible and unsightly bags under your eyes. The, not only physical, but mental exhaustion that haunts you incessantly during the day and watches over you at night, waiting. Waiting to consume you the minute the alarm lets out its roar.

They forget to mention the everlasting and excruciating fear of failure, the days where you not only feel drained, but lost. Feeling the pressure to be everywhere at once, to make a thousand friends, to succeed inside and out of the classroom, to make money, to be well rested, to have a perfect body, to have the perfect life. They don’t tell you all this.

But that doesn’t make them wrong.

Because you see, when the time comes, you will soon come to realize why the bad has been universally forgotten: In college, I promise… you will find yourself. You will no longer feel the dying need to be omnipresent, to be popular, to be invincible.

You will peacefully abandon the effort to be liked by everyone; and give up trying to please the irrelevant—just to see slight nods of approval. You will accept the fact that not every friday night will be life-changing, and you will learn to like this.

The calm is just as important as the rage. You will not feel ashamed of the ordinary, the boring, the much needed time to yourself. You will look in the mirror at your tired eyes and be thankful for your restless nights—the nights where your passion and goals overshadowed the desire to sleep. In the midst of constant stress and busyness, you will have more fun than you ever thought possible.

You will discover parts of yourself that surprise you. You will connect with improbable, do the impractical…hell, you might even fall in love. You will spend a Saturday night with a strong buzz, dancing in the lights, and you will feel utterly and unshakably free.

Hopefully you will soon begin to realize that. That they were right all along. All of them.

I only hope you see this before the time passes. I hope you see that the best is indeed, now—amidst the sadness, amidst the chaos, amidst both the thrilling and the dull. I urge you to find something beautiful in the turmoil, to find something soothing in the ache. I urge you to not only appreciate the greatest times, but also the worst—for from these moments, you will grow, you will learn….and soon you will welcome hardship with open arms.

Because you know now, whatever destiny decides to throw your way, you will not cower in fear. Instead, you will fight.

And when the All-Powerful decides to act in your favor, you will acknowledge this gift. and savor the goodness like it is the last thing to ever touch your lips. I can only hope that, while you are here, you make the damn best of it. Because, before you know it, your time is up. And all you’ll have left are the memories, memories that will soon become stories. And I hope that, when you tell your story, you will tell it with pride. I hope it will make you smile from ear to ear; I hope it will make you light up—a glow that not a single listener will overlook.

One of the many lessons you’re going to learn is that making mistakes is inevitable.

This year, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes, but for the first time, you’re not going to be afraid to make those mistakes.

You’re going to take a lot of risks.

You’re going to accept that teaching assistant position. You’re going to host your own radio show. You’re going to be an editor for the school paper, and you’re going to make more strides with your career than you ever imagined.

But with those positions, you’re going to struggle to learn how to teach others. You’re going to mess up on air, and you’re going to stay up until 4 a.m. writing two articles a week.

But in the end, you’re going to come out from all these struggles a stronger person because you were able to conquer them.

You’re going to make a lot of stupid decisions when it comes to relationships.

You’re going to fall for someone and end up hurt. A couple times actually. You’re going to chase someone who isn’t worth your time, and realize way too late that you’re better off without him. At the same time, you’re going to learn a valuable lesson. If someone is dumb enough to walk away from you, you have to smart enough to move the fuck on. That’s something you didn’t ever have to deal with as a freshman.

You’re going to lead guys on without even realizing it. It’s a two-way street. You’re going to get hurt and you’re also going to hurt others. You’re going to get creative with your excuses and realize that being straight up with people saves others a lot of their own time. Again, another lesson.

You’re going to party a lot more. You’re not always going to have your core group with you for protection. Instead, you’re going to get drunker than you’ve ever been and make mistakes upon mistakes with people you don’t really know.

At the same time, you’re going to meet a lot of new people. You’re going to become friends with a lot of different groups. There’s going to be the friends that you party with. The friends in your classes. Your friends on your floor. Your friends through the paper. Your radio friends. The random friends you make through interviewing – which is the best types of friends — the random ones you make through college. But then there are the friends that always have your back, no matter how stupid you are.

I think the reason you made so many more friends this year, is that you were more comfortable with who you are.

Something that hasn’t changed is your perspective on life. You live your life with this thought: If it makes a great story, then just do it. But this year, you actually did.

You have a lot more stories during your sophomore year. Your life actually felt a little like a sitcom. Think about it. Every great sitcom involves dynamic characters making mistake after mistake, but learning a lesson by the end. Your life felt more New Girl than Gossip Girl, but you always came back to your dorm with a funny story. Were they embarrassing? Hell, yeah.

Most of them involved you embarrassing yourself in more ways than one. You blew up 72 balloons drunk for my roommate’s birthday. Her birthday also involved a plant funeral and a proposal. Great stories for the future. You also won’t forget the time you ate a pound of wings in 15 minutes or the time you bought that piñata for the suite.

You won’t forget any of these stories because they’re embedded as wonderful messy memories.

You were rejected and had to reject more people than ever. You took on tougher courses and became a stronger person because of it. You became the type of person who was confident enough to tell others what to do and or how to handle situations.

You’re a different person for sure.

And if it weren’t for all those messy experiences and a couple of risks here and there, you wouldn’t be the person you are now. Trust me, this year is going to be the messiest semester of your life —but it’ll also be the best.

t’s time. At this point, you’re a couple weeks away from moving into college, or maybe you’re already moved in. I was in your shoes just last year- excited and nervous all at the same time. College is a great experience filled with opportunities, but there are a few things that you should remember!

so,

Be grateful when your parents help you move in.

Even if they don’t put things exactly where you want them, thank them anyway. Chances are, you won’t seem them for a couple weeks or maybe even months after move in, so let them know that you are truly grateful for their help and that you love them. Otherwise, you’ll end up regretting your frustrated tone later.

Scope out where your classes are ahead of time.

Your stress during the first week of classes can be greatly reduced by taking time to find your classrooms ahead of time. That way, you can find them more easily and avoid being late on your first day.

Try to RENT your textbooks.

Campus bookstores are always expensive. Even their rental prices are crazy high! I always try to get my textbooks ahead of time through Amazon. Their rentals run as low as $20 per semester if you order them at the right time (I have found early to mid-July to be the best time to order). Also, if you end up not needing the book, you have at least a month to return it for a full refund!

Go to the Welcome Week activities.

Many colleges have different “Welcome Week” activities that range from barbeques with music and free food to sports. Even if you aren’t a big fan of pulled pork or dodgeball, go anyway! These activities are perfect opportunities to meet friends! Chances are, many of the people there are freshman looking for friends also!

Don’t neglect your studies.

College is full of awesome activities, career building opportunities, and parties. While all of these things sound insanely fun, remember why you’re at school: to get an education. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, and if you’re like me, you’re 99% sure you’ll be able to stay on track, but trust me, it’s easier to go astray than you think. Just make sure your priorities are always straight. That being said…

Still set time aside to have fun.

Go out with your friends to football games and professional development nights. Grab dinner together. Join a club. Be sure to set aside some time for fun to de-stress.

Set aside some “you” time.

In college, you rarely get time alone, and if you’re an only child like me, that will freak you out. It will be okay, though! Just set aside some time each week to be by yourself. You can read or draw or whatever you enjoy doing! It’s important to spend time alone so you’re sure to stay true to yourself! Don’t let others start to define you.

Be safe and cautious.

There will be a time where you will think that your campus is the safest place in the world and that you are invincible. Or your friend won’t be able to walk you home, and you’ll feel the urge to walk alone. Although 99% of the time you will probably make it back to your room safe and sound, there’s always a chance. Crimes happen on college campuses more often than most people would like to acknowledge. Always be cautious. Carry pepper spray, and keep it somewhere accessible. Stay in groups at night; and take advantage of safe walk programs on campus.

Last but not least, call home.

Your parents have most likely seen you almost every day for the last 18 or so years of your life. This is hard on them. Give them a call to check in once in a while, and let them know that you love them

Above all, I hope that you will go as far as to tell them that it was the ‘time of your life’. But don’t worry about that too much. I think that you will. After all, they all do.

50 lesson University life tought me in my first year

Recently finishing my first year of undergrad, I compiled a list of the things I really learned after paying thousands of dollars. Move aside Masaka and Ssaza, this is where it’s at.

  1. You will, without a doubt, hate everything you came to school for, at least once.
  2. Your parents were wrong.
  3. Suede, although pretty, is such a useless material.
  4. Your parents were right.
  5. Take chances. Always, always, take chances.
  6. It is possible to survive an entire day on a bagel and a carton of chocolate milk. Sometimes, just the bagel.
  7. All those habits you thought you were going to kick? Nice try.
  8. Sometimes, you just don’t want to be kissed.
  9. Engineers, regardless of what school they attend, are dangerous creatures.
  10. It is possible to watch a movie every night.
  11. Yes, T.A’s do hit on their students.
  12. Don’t come to university with the expectation that people are any more mature than they were in high school. They aren’t.
  13. Turns out, fulfilling your dreams requires a lot of paperwork and a high GPA.
  14. Never say never.
  15. You will miss people with every fiber of your being and not realize it till you hug them after months of absence and remember why you liked them in the first place.
  16. There’s no graceful way to eat a pita wrap.
  17. Being away from everyone you’ve gone to school with since you were 4 helps you sort out those worth coming home for and those worth forgetting. That is, if you didn’t already know.
  18. There will be students from other faculties in your major’s class who will do better than you on everything. It does not mean they are actually better than you. Numbers on a transcript have no relevance to passion. It’s okay.
  19. Nothing will make you make you feel more like a student than when you’re fishing through your wallet for spare change so you can buy a hot dog.
  20. You know nothing. But you also know absolutely everything.
  21. Never, ever, EVER turn down free food.
  22. No decent guy refers to the number of girls he’s slept with (be it in one night or cumulatively) as a “kill count.”
  23. Cover your boobs.
  24. Never interrupt during a discussion.
  25. “I used to be in Commerce, but then I realized I had morals, so I switched to Humanities.”
  26. Remember money? Remember how nice it felt to actually have some?
  27. Sex is beautiful. It’s a merging of limbs and ideas, a physical way to express your joy in the fact that the two of you love each other.
  28. Sex is dangerous. It is secrets and fears translated into desperate movement in the hopes that the body you’re clinging to, the face you’re looking at in the half dark, stranger or friend or someone in between, will help you understand something. It will not.
  29. When you go out of your way to so desperately look for something, it will go out of its way to make sure you don’t find it.
  30. It’s okay to cry.
  31. Your problems aren’t as big as you make them out to be in your head. Doesn’t mean you should disregard them completely. Just know you don’t have it that bad.
  32. Holding doors makes all the difference.
  33. Know that some people don’t realize that it’s possible to love someone in different ways.
  34. That one Double-Double was actually a Triple-Bypass-Why-Is-This-So-Sweet-Holy Shit-Why-Did-You-Buy-This.
  35. There is no set time to eat sushi.
  36. That look high school seniors give you when you wear your university sweater.
  37. The ones you loved and thought had left were just taking their time to find a way back.
  38. One of the best papers you’ve written all year will receive a failed grade because you were under the word count and you only talked about Russia. It’s an excellent paper. Deal with the shitty grade.
  39. Take a look at the people you last spoke to (via text, MSN, phone, etc) before heading off to bed. These people are who you really care about. These people are important.
  40. Just because someone is good to you, does not mean they are good foryou.
  41. Saying “fuck it” doesn’t work. “Fuck it” doesn’t write your essays or do your labs or edit your videos or get your lecture notes. “Fuck it” isn’t good to your GPA or your friendships or your sleep cycle.
  42. Everything worth knowing leaves scars.
  43. “It depends on the context.”
  44. There is something about the applause your professors receive at the end of the semester’s last lecture that will always make you well up with pride.
  45. Procrastinating on your schoolwork is a communal activity.
  46. When in doubt, cite it.
  47. The friendships you suddenly make at the end of the year, standing in line to buy coffee or over piles of exam notes, are more genuine than you give them credit for.
  48. Maybe you shouldn’t reread 1984 when you should be just doing readings.
  49. Always tell the truth. Even if it’s dirty and unpleasant. Do it. If the person doesn’t thank you then, they’ll thank you later, to your face or silently to themselves.
  50. Always reflect.
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Graduating from University is the hardest thing on Planet! so this is my advice to freshers of MRU. By Lukonge Achilees

Graduating from college was hard for a variety of reasons—entering a terrible job market, having a degree that felt like it was written on a cocktail napkin, and feeling like a giant question mark was placed on top of your life. These were things that I expected to feel though. These were the things that had been discussed ad nauseam so I felt emotionally prepared for the blow. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, were the quiet losses, the little deaths that litter your path when you begin the next stage of your life.

This is something we’ve talked a lot about. These are the themes we keep going back to over and over, and before you scream bloody murder at the redundancy, it’s important to think about why everyone is having such a hard time. I don’t think it’s normal to exist so heavily in a post-grad fugue so what’s the deal? Are we all just developmentally stunted? It goes beyond the crappy economy; it goes beyond spending a hundred grand on college, doing everything you thought you had to do in order to succeed only to end up as a waitress/ intern for a period of time that extends beyond the post-grad grace period. People are just having a difficult time growing up these days. We suffer from crippling nostalgia brought on by Facebook photo albums and clicking Refresh, we feel cheated by the new modern workplace so we freelance and have a lot of feelings instead. This is a moment in culture that belongs only to us. This is our generation’s legacy.

You might not relate and that’s okay because enough people do. It’s strange to see such a blatant disconnect between yourself and your parents though. They came of age and graduated college in a very different time. Their post-grad experience doesn’t resemble yours, it resembles grad school or an immediate job after college. We’re seeing a true separation of the generations happening here, right now.

It’s frustrating because we’re perceived as being lazy, which might be only a little bit true. Because now more than ever it seems there’s a pressure to be successful. Especially with Facebook and Twitter where you can chart people’s professional progress and silently judge them. We’re living life under the microscope that we created so trust us when we say that we do want a job. We need to be validated by LinkedIn!

I graduated college a year and a half ago and my friends are all still in such different places. Some are traveling, some are unemployed and doing the daily job search we all know and loathe, some are interning, some are straight up in that 9-to-5 grind at a job they hate, and only two or three of us have landed our dream jobs. No one’s on the same page. Friends are moving, staying, ignoring phone calls, falling in love, breaking up, disappearing. Some friends do happy hour after work, some are sober and go to bed at ten p.m., some of us can go out whenever we want because there’s no job to wake up to. I wonder if/ when this will ever even out. I wonder when/ if we can all find our way back to each other again. That’s the hardest part about graduating college for me—no longer being in the same place as your friends. We’re all just so far away from each other now and some of us are successful and some of us aren’t and some of us are getting there and some of us may never get there. It makes you miss the days when you both had papers . Except not really because that book was a headache

My advice to freshers Of MRU

  1. “Go out, get drunk, hook up…but make sure that’s never the most interesting thing about you.”
  2. “Do not ever underestimate your talent. On two different occasions, I came out of two professors’ office hours crying because both of them couldn’t believe i scored below average in Basic accounting and Communication and language skills . One was an Communication lecturer Nakiyemba Harriet and the other was a accounting Lecturer, and I was doing really well in both their classes. I will never forget the look of wild confusion on each of their faces when I shared with them the one detail that could prevent me from studying abroad. Both professors praised my work so highly and told me I was capable of so much more than the grades I was receiving. I walked out crying because, for the first time in my life, I believed them.”
  3. “Remember that you’re not in high school anymore and that nobody cares what you were like in high school. It’s ok to take good memories from high school with you to college, but make sure not to get caught up in them. You’re going to want to make all new friends and have all new experiences in college and if you stay too attached to your high school experience, you won’t be open to everything that high school has to offer. Don’t focus on what made you, you in high school. Figure out what your mark in college is going to be—and figure out with whom you’re going to make it.”
  4. “Freshman year is a huge transition period, and I wish I had understood that and handled it with more grace. Feel your feelings and know that it will be easier one day, once you’ve found the right people.”
  5. “College is, for most of us, the first time we all truly venture out on our own and begin the work of deciding who we will become. It is a beautiful time of discovery and one that you wont get to repeat. So if I may, can I ask one thing of you? Your grades are important, and parties are fun, but make sure you take some time for yourself once in a while, away from it all. Even if it’s for 10 or 15 minutes, once a week, find a place where you can sit and be still, without a care or worry on your mind. For me, it has made all the difference.”
  6. “Don’t feel like you need to be best friends with the people in your hall because of your proximity. Be selective about those who get to spend time with you.”
  7. “For the love of God…FOR THE LOVE OF YOURSELF…don’t ever, ever let yourself become someone’s side bitch. You are main bitch material, dammit! It’s been three and a half years, and I am still grappling with that concept. Please, please know that you don’t deserve to be waiting around for his (or her) text messages, and you shouldn’t be watching him text his ex-girlfriend while both of you are on a date. When he asks, “where is your self-respect?” after waking up next to you and then hooking up with your good friend that night, make sure to first, punch him square in the face, and to second, get him the fuck out of your life. Stop waiting around for all those losers to see how fucking awesome you are, and make time for the ones that knew it the moment they met you.”
  8. “Get out there, join a club, and join the community.
  9. I know alcohol and the bar scene is new and exciting, but be safe and try not to be too stupid. I made too many mistakes like that as an 18 year old. It’s not fun to be remembered as the girl who made out with 12 people in two hours.”
  10. “Everyone is probably telling you right now that these will be the happiest four years of your life. What they probably aren’t telling you is that these will also be some of the worst years of your life. In college you will feel on top of the world and utterly defeated (sometimes in the same day). So just try to remember that you’re not doing anything wrong if you’re having a hard time. And before you jump to any conclusions about how much happier everyone else is, and how much more fun they’re having than you, go sit down and talk to a friend. You’d be surprised by how many people feel lost and directionless at least some point in their college careers.”
  11. “Try to learn something new, whether it’s about yourself or what you’re studying. School is still so much fun, and it’s the last time you’re going to get the chance. Learn the things you can’t learn outside a classroom, though those things can often be more important.”
  12. “Please please please don’t be afraid to befriend seniors. Some of my most meaningful relationships of my freshman year, if not my entire college experience, were the ones I had with seniors when I was a freshman. I want nothing more than to give that kind of meaning to someone new. I want you to do well, and I want to pass on a legacy at this school through people like you. Also, you guys are precious, and you have a ton of cafeteria swipes. Upperclassmen friends are not hard to make if endless fries and Lucky Charms are involved.
  13. One of my meaningful friends who was a senior when I was a freshman told me just a few weeks ago that my personality hasn’t changed, just that I’ve learned to navigate the world better. And that’s all you need to learn. Enjoy these next four years, ’cause they zoom away a hundred times faster than you think they will. Mine did, and I wish that I was paying more attention to them.”
  14. “My advice for freshmen is to trust their gut in all decisions they make. Do whatever YOU feel most comfortable with regardless of what your friends may think. Be friends with everyone and don’t stand for ‘groups’ ‘your crew’ ‘your girls’ because in most cases that’s just a euphemism for a clique.”
  15. “Boys suck. Accept defeat and eat another donut.”
  16. “I think one of my favorite quotes does a pretty good job at summarizing the advice I would give: ‘For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.’ – F. Scott Fitzgerald”
  17. “Going to the cafeteria alone is not weird; it means you’re okay with yourself.”
  18. “I won’t lie to you: College is going to turn your world upside down in both the best and worst ways possible. You will lose yourself, and you will find yourself again. You will most likely change your major, and your roommates will probably become your best friends. Inevitably, you will see more of them than you ever thought you’d want to (literally – my roommates frequently parade around my apartment in just t-shirts and underwear). But, they are also the people who will come to know you better than you know yourself and some days you are really going to need that. Never let the fear of failure inhibit you from doing what you know you actually want to do. As cliché as this is about to sound, be sure to revel in every bit of these next four years because it will go faster than you could ever imagine.”
  19. “Remember, everyone and I mean EVERYONE has a story so before judging or assuming try to just listen. I still catch myself everyday guilty of this, assuming someone is crabby for no reason or being rude just to be rude– you’ll be amazed at the stories you hear when you let someone talk for five minutes.”
  20. “Take yourself out of your comfort zone. Make yourself deliberately uncomfortable. It is an unparalleled character-building exercise, and you might be able to discern the things you want out of life as well as the things you don’t as a result.”
  21. “You should know that change is both necessary and inevitable, so try to embrace it as best as you can. Growth is a beautiful, incredibly bittersweet process and there is (I’ve learned) nothing to fear from it. At the end of the day, that’s what you’re here for: to learn, to blossom, and to flourish into whoever it is you decide you’re going to be. Part of that process though, is making mistakes; so be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, and then, keep going. The only thing you’ll regret over these next four years are the things you didn’t do, so make sure you do everything you can; go out on weeknights, dress up for themed parties, attend as many of your university’s sporting events as you can, and always call home at least once a week. Do things you never gave yourself the liberty to do in high school, study abroad, revel in your newfound independence in whatever way you see fit, spend at least one summer on campus, and, perhaps most importantly, when you do finally find your voice – don’t ever be afraid to use it.”
  22. “Participate in EVERYTHING, even if its not your thing you’ll probably find that if you participate you always have fun. Do not be that kid who is “too cool for school” because you will miss out.”
  23. “A candle loses no light when lighting others. Build others up whenever you can, support those close to you and help whoever you can – you never know when the tables will turn!”
  24. “I’m not sure I can think of any better advice than that given by Anna Quindlen in one of her commencement speeches. As a freshman I rolled my eyes at these words, I thought good grades, hard work, and sleep deprivation were the answer.
  1. “There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree; there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your minds, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul. People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is a cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the test results and they’re not so good. So here is what I wanted to tell you today: Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you’d care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast? Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water gap or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a cheerio with her thumb and first finger. Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Each time you look at your diploma, remember that you are still a student, still learning how to best treasure your connection to others. Pick up the phone. Send an e-mail. Write a letter. Kiss your Mom. Hug your Dad. Get a life in which you are generous. Look around at the saza in the suburban neighborhood where you grew up; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black, black sky on a cold night. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Once in a while take money you would have spent on beers and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.”

My Open Letter Of Advice To All Of The Struggling MRU or Mak. or any University Students Out There

College can equally be one of the greatest and most stressful times of your life. Whether you’re new to the college scene or have been doing your best in university courses for a couple of years, you know that this time of the school year has everyone stressed out over midterms. Soon, finals will be here, which means you don’t get much of a break between studying for midterms and the end of the semester.

I know, I’ve been there.

I remember those times when all I wanted to do was sleep for the rest of my life and never walk into another classroom again. People would tell me I should enjoy this time of my life, but all I wanted to do was stress-eat my way through a bag of discounted pancakes, eggs of Kafeero-watch my favorite movies. Since I’ve graduated, though, I’ve realized that those people were right.

Your years in college, no matter how long it takes you to walk across that stage and get your diploma, or degree are truly something special. You don’t have the responsibilities you’ll deal with for the next few decades after you graduate, and you have a multitude of people ready to help you grow and find out who you’re meant to be. Even when you’re in your most stressed-out moments, instead of getting upset and considering dropping out, try thinking about some actionable ways you can grab ahold of your college experience and get the most out of it.

1.   Focus on Scheduling

The reason professors give you a staggering amount of homework isn’t because they think it’s fun to grade all those assignments and papers. It’s because they’re trying to teach you how to learn time management. When I first got to college, I was that person who did all their work last minute so I could enjoy being with my friends and figuring out what the college experience was like.

Let me tell you, that’s no way to survive your next few years of school. Get on top of scheduling your homework out right away. Professors give out homework schedules at the beginning of the semester for a reason! If you know what nights you’re hitting the books, you’ll know when you’ll be free to hang out with friends. This will make your social life way less stressed than if you never looked at a calendar.

2.   Treat Your Body Right

There’s a time and a place for everything, which means your weekend partying needs to be followed up with a time of nourishment for your body. Almost every college student wants to eat well, but I know that’s hard to do, and can be expensive. Cafeterias offer unlimited pizza and burgers, while the healthy food is either limp salad from the salad bar or pre-frozen mini-meals from campus convenience stores that cost way too much.

When it came to buying groceries, I was out of luck. I worked two extra jobs while taking classes, and I still somehow only ever had a collective $5 in my bank account. College is great, but it’s expensive. Don’t let that get you down, though. Try looking up A College Guide To Healthy Eating to help you get on your way to feeling better and looking better without sacrificing more money or time that you would have spent working on homework.

3.   Take a Second Look at Your Finances

Do you know where your money is really going? If you don’t, you probably don’t even realize when you’re overspending on things you don’t need. Most importantly, your money should be going toward your bills and any debt you might have. Then it should cover the necessities, like food and gas, if you drive to class. After that it can be spent on fun things that make you happy.

Still not sure how to budget? Maybe first take a look at how much you’re currently paying for things. Sometimes all you need to do to have some extra cash is change up your lifestyle. One of the biggest bank breakers that I discovered when I did this was living on campus. That’s how I started my college years, and moving off campus turned out to be the best thing I ever did. On average, off-campus housing students save $2,238 more than on-campus students each year.

That’s a whole lot of extra ramen.

4.   Don’t Forget to Put Classes First

You’re there to learn, so don’t forget that school comes first. For me, I got sidetracked when I started making new friends, going out more and participating in clubs. These things are great, and they’re what makes college fun, so they should be pursued in moderation. But I was having so much fun that my grades started to slide. You’re not paying a boatload of cash so you can hit the town every night. You enrolled because you wanted to earn that diploma, so always put school first. Your friends will be there later, and they may even appreciate the reminder that they should be in the library, too.

5.   Take Lots of Pictures

One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t take more pictures and write down more memories while I was in school. After I graduated, I had a few big memories to look back on, but I wish I had charted my experiences. Social media makes this easier now, but don’t forget to export those pictures to your photo gallery, or even print them out and put them in storage somewhere. You’ll thank me later when you want to revisit your favorite memories from your first years at school.

College is stressful, especially this time of year when midterms feel like they’ve kicked your butt and all your professors can talk about is preparing for finals. Take hope in the fact that the stress won’t last forever, and try to enjoy every second that you have, because it ends so much faster than you think. Take it from me — hard work pays off, but don’t forget to enjoy the happy moments while they’re still happening.

How healthy your relationship is? you should know these questions. By Lukonge Achilees

Romantic relationships are about attachment. We need from our partner all the same things we need from a parent when we’re children: assurance that they won’t abandon us, demonstration that they care, reason to trust them, etc. The more you foster this attachment, the healthier your relationship will be. The weaker this attachment, the unhappier and more likely to break up you will be.

1. Do you use a “soft startup” to bring up difficult topics?

One of the strongest predictors of divorce in Dr. John Gottman’s empirical research on marriage was a “harsh startup” to fights. “You don’t care about me!” “You never take out the trash!” “There you go again, going into la la land.” Instead, use a startup that doesn’t attack your significant other. “I’m not feeling happy with the way we’re dealing with the garbage right now.

2. Do you criticize or show contempt for your spouse?

Criticism means, when you bring up issues, you attack them as a person, rather than raise complaints about actions or situations. Contempt means you’re disgusted by them. These usually take the form of superlatives. “You’re lazy. That’s why you don’t help me.” “You’re a cold bitch. Why can’t you ever consider my feelings?”

3. Are you defensive?

When our significant other brings up an issue, do we immediately try to justify our actions? Do we defend ourselves? This is natural if they’re criticizing us, but even when that’s the case, defensiveness escalates the situation, rather than defusing it. If even when they’re aggressive, you can ask “what’s wrong?” instead of “no I don’t!” you dramatically reduce your odds of divorce.

4. Do you make repair attempts?

Repair attempts are anything that de-escalates a fight. It can be an apology, a hug, or a comment. “We’re getting heated. Let’s slow down.”

5. Do you recognize your partner’s repair attempts?

Even more important than making your own repair attempts is accepting your partner’s. If they reach out to you to de-escalate tension, and you ignore them, or attack them, this was the single strongest predictor of divorce in Gottman’s research.

6. Do you know your partner?

What’s your partner’s favorite food? What’s troubling him or her right now? What is he or she trying to achieve? You should know these things off the top of your head. If you don’t, you need to talk to them more.

7. Do you make frequent small gestures of love?

Relationships don’t live on grand gestures. The big fight you had won’t kill your relationship, and the trip to the Bahamas won’t save it. It’s when you hold each other when you get home from work, or you cook for each other, or you remember their birthday. These are the moments that reinforce your attachment every day.

8. Do you pay attention to them?

Just as it’s the small things that build attachment, the small things destroy it. If they come home upset, and you don’t do anything to comfort them, they will feel abandoned, and this will chip away at your relationship. Your moments of ignorance do more to wreck your relationship than anything else, and fights are usually a consequence of feeling abandoned, not the true cause of relationship meltdown.

9. Do you use “I” statements?

A habit of highly successful couples originally proposed in the ’60s by Dr. Thomas Gordon is to speak in terms of “I” rather than “you.” This keeps you talking about facts. “I feel XYZ,” as opposed to “you are doing ABC.” It avoids the criticism and contempt mentioned before.

10. Do you let them influence you?

The more hierarchical your relationship is, the more likely it is to fail. If you are unwilling to consider your significant other’s perspective on things, and everything must be done your way or the highway, there’s a high chance it will lead to the highway.

11. Do you practice loving rituals?

We are what we make habits. If you make a habit out of rituals of love, you will consistently reinforce your relationship without thinking about it. This could be a date night every Friday, a daily cuddle session, or an annual honeymoon. All of the above are good ideas.

12. Do you practice “loving jealousy?”

It’s popular to believe that jealousy is a sign of love and affection. It’s actually a sign of distrust and insecurity. If you’re not comfortable with your lover visiting friends, talking to the opposite sex, or doing anything in general, your relationship will be more miserable.

13. Do you hold your lover responsible for your emotions?

As I mentioned, it’s important to be sensitive and attentive to your partner, but you can’t hold them responsible for taking care of your feelings. You need to take measures to comfort yourself and manage your own emotions too. They are only human. It also helps if, when you need their help, you verbalize that need.

14. Do you continue to improve yourself?

It’s easy to get complacent in a relationship, and most people do. It’s a tendency you need to resist. Keep going to the gym. Keep developing hobbies. Keep making yourself sexier and more interesting.

15. Do you turn towards them?

One of the strongest indicators of successful couples is “turning towards” rather than “turning away.” Individuals in couples often make “bids” for each other’s attention. This can be everything from calling to ask if you need milk to commenting on the pretty bird. The milk and the bird aren’t important. Responding to your lover is. Couples that respond to their lovers’ bids for attention are immensely more likely to stay together years later than those who don’t.

16. Do you deal with your solvable problems?

Most problems in relationships are solvable. They might be big arguments, but they can be resolved through compromise and sensitivity. Couples who sweep these problems under the rug (usually because they use harsh startups and are critical of each other, making talking about problems uncomfortable) grow bitter and miserable.

17. Do you have a system for accommodating your unsolvable problems?

Unsolvable problems derive from differences in core values or dreams. They might involve religious differences, disagreement about kids, differences in desire to travel, etc. These aren’t the deal-breakers we often assume them to be (though they can be). Couples who successfully address unsolvable problems employ habits that minimize the influence these problems have on their relationship.

18. Do you admire your partner?

Partners who admire each other are far more likely to happily stay together. Get in the habit of reminding yourself about your partner’s positive qualities. Remember why you fell in love with them.

19. Are you willing to leave?

Ending the relationship should be the last resort, but it has to be an option. If you are addicted to your partner, or are too insecure to live without their validation no matter how bad the relationship gets, this can kill both of your motivations to work on the problems.

20. Do you keep score?

Some couples think successful relationships are about reciprocity. “He does things for me, I do things for him.” The good things you do for each other should arise because you want to do them, not because you expect reciprocity. You also should be forgetting the missteps, not saving them to bring up in the next fight. If you’re keeping an account of who’s investing more or less, this is a sign of a broken relationship.

The beauty of becoming a social worker. By Lukonge Achilees

On my first day in my first class in what has become an arduous, three-year journey to become a social worker, our teacher told us that we would spend the entire period walking around the college asking people one question: What do social workers do?

The response was overwhelming. About 50% said “take babies away,” 25% of people said “help families in difficulty,” about 10% said something around the lines of “Help make a better world” and the final 15% said something degrading and insulting about social workers.

So what do we do? All of the above.

We aren’t liked. There is a huge stigma that comes along with the title of “social worker.” Yes, sometimes our jobs require that we remove children from their families. We help families and individuals who are experiencing difficulties. We advocate in our communities to make a better, safer place to live. And sometimes we mess up, royally.

But why am I writing this? Why is it so important that people understand what social workers do? Let’s break this down. Social work is broadly defined by Dictionary.com as:

Organized work directed toward the betterment of social conditions in the community, as by seeking to improve the condition of the poor, to promote the welfare of children, etc.

Whoa. Is that all? Social workers are found everywhere. Hospitals, elderly homes, schools, the army, private corporations, social service institutions, community centers, rehabilitation facilities, religious centers, community organizations… We work with children, the elderly, the physically disabled, refugees, families, soldiers, people with mental illness, convicts, and the homeless. There is hardly a person alive who has never dealt with a social worker in some context.

I asked some of my colleagues to come up with a quote describing either social work, or what social work means to them. The results were heartwarming:

“It gives me a reason to get up in the morning.”

“I need to help people like social workers have helped me.”

“I really just couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

But one description of social work seriously astounded me:

A social worker is like a cheerleader, but sometimes they’ve also got to be a coach or a trainer… and it’s also kind of like being a doctor trying to fix people’s problems but then there are also moments like in nursing when you just have to be with someone while they go through it all… and sometimes you might feel like a lawyer or a negotiator or sometimes a secretary or a teacher or historian… and sometimes a politician and sometimes a detective. 

That’s the heart of a social worker.

This description touches me so much because it is so true. I have been called for legal advice, I have had to do homework and tutor students who come to see me, and I have gone to wait for eight hours in an emergency room with a client just to ensure that they feel supported and safe while going to see a doctor.

And yet, we are displayed as the scum of the professional orders; the ones that other professionals use because we get the work done and don’t complain if we need to get our hands dirty. We do the work that others won’t: advocating for the poor and unfortunate, intervening with and perhaps dividing a family, supporting workers on strike.

So how do we do it? This is why social workers are hated so often; we don’t have a right or wrong way of doing anything. Sure, we have general theories and guidelines that we use and apply in our work, but each organization will have different guidelines. We don’t have a defined model like the “medical model” or the “psychiatric model;” instead, we work with our hearts, our heads, and with different theories. We have many diverse models that we use all at once, and in many different ways. But having so many theories leads to many different forms of practice, which then leads to many mistakes.

How can we guarantee similar services when no two services that are needed are the same? Well, we can’t. No matter how similar two people’s separate stories may seem, the service and help that they need won’t be the same. Lately, social work has been under particular stress to become more than just a professional order. There has been pressure to define social work, and give us specific roles. There is also pressure to start applying specific types of intervention; but how can one type of intervention be enough for somebody who has so many roles within one society?

We are not psychologists. We do not fit in to the “social sciences” mold, because social work is not a science, it is an art. Social work is a passion.

Just like any athlete or artist has a passion for what they create, social workers do too. An artist feels what is needed to complete a piece, and while social work will often use facts and theories as a basis for what a client needs, we will most often try to get a feeling of what the client’s priorities are. We work using everything that we are. Just like artists and athletes, we will work ourselves to the bone trying to help our clients.

However, as much as we enjoy and feel compassion for these people, this often leads to burn outs. We are human as well, after all. How is it that the profession that is most likely to help people avoid burn outs, is also the profession that is most likely to experience them? Most social workers have caseloads that are way above the limit that they are supposed to have. Most perform side projects for their agencies, or take on another worker’s caseload that is on a leave of absence. We never stop, and rarely tell ourselves when we have had enough. This is why I am writing this article. This is why I feel there is a need for clarity on what a social worker can help you with. We aren’t miracle workers; we will work with you for months and it may seem like we did nothing for you, but for us it was months of devoting time to you so you can become more like the person you want to be. Yet more often than not, we are the ones who are in need of help and yet have nowhere to receive it.

Who helps the helpers? 

Black Saints, 3rd June Every year. Uganda Martyrs Day for all christian believers

How Uganda Martyrs met their death

By Lukonge Achilees

On June 3rd of every year, Uganda commemorates Martyrs’ Day at Namugongo Shrine.

for more information about Uganda martyrs watch videos by visiting this page. https://www.facebook.com/muteesa1royaluniversity/

Every June 03, the world remembers the Uganda Martyrs who were executed between 31 January 1885 and 27 January 1887 by Kabaka Mwanga II for their faith in Jesus Christ. They included 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic.

History

uganda martyrs church kabong ditrict

The arrival of the Christian missionaries, Anglican and Catholic, set the stage for new developments, and marked a turning point in the religious life of the people of Buganda; as well as the political structure of the kingdom and the region at large. The history of Buganda from this point on took a different turn. A social revolution that was to transform all aspects of people’s lives had set in, and the events that followed, unpredictable as they were, added to the discomfort the new changes had brought about. The untimely death of Mutesa I in 1884 just a few years after the arrival of the missionaries, left the kingdom in the hands of Mwanga II, a youth whose ruling style fell far short of the charisma and political astuteness his late father had demonstrated in dealing with the foreigners.

Mutesa had the astuteness and maturity of dealing with conflicting forces that struggled to influence his court. The Arabs (the Moslems), the Catholics (the French or Bafaransa as they were locally called) or the Protestants (the English or Bangereza) operated, of course not without constraint, with some minimal success during his reign. He let his subjects of all ranks to join any creed of their choice. The Arabs also having seen the Christian missionaries’ efforts to convert the local people also diligently started to teach Islam. There was a competitive struggle among the preachers of the new creeds each attempting to assert more influence and recognition among the most influential officials in the inner circle of the king’s court. The king himself never committed to any single creed. The Moslems denounced him for his refusal to be circumcised, and he could not be baptized in the Christian denominations because he did not want to give up polygamy. He died still a traditionalist.

The Christian religion was received with much excitement by the converts but it came with its own requirements. It denounced all the native religious behavior and practices as heathen and satanic. Therefore joining it meant a commitment to break away from the old life style, make and adopt new alliances, and adjust to new moral and religious standards, adherence and allegiance. The new flock of believers ( abasomi, or readers, as they were called) therefore, were seemingly regarded as ‘rebels’ who had transferred their loyalty to new religious systems thus abandoning the old tribal traditions.

Although Mwanga had shown some love for the missionaries as a young prince, his attitude changed when he became king. The once lively and enthusiastic prince in support of the missionaries turned into an intolerant and vicious persecutor of Christians and all foreigners. He felt, with good cause, that the powers and authority his predecessors had enjoyed were dwindling, and had disintegrated under the influence of the missionaries and their converts. The converts had diverted their loyalty to some other authority and their allegiance at all costs could no longer be counted on. For Mwanga, the ultimate humiliation was the insolence he received from the pages when they ( the least subservient of servants) resisted his homosexual advances. According to old tradition the king was the center of power and authority, and he could dispense with any life as he felt, hence the old saying Namunswa alya kunswaze (the queen ant feeds on her subjects). Although homosexuality is abhorred among the Baganda, it was unheard of for mere pages to reject the wishes of a king. (It is alleged that Mwanga learnt or acquired homosexual behavior from the Arabs). Given those conflicting values Mwanga was determined to rid his kingdom of the new teaching and its followers.

It was hardly a year after Mwanga’s assumption of the throne that he ordered the execution of Yusufu (Joseph) Rugarama, Makko (Mark) Kakumba, and Nuwa (Noah) Serwanga the first three Christian martyrs, who were killed at Busega Natete on January 31, 1885. In October of 1885 the Anglican Bishop James Hannington recently dispatched to head the Eastern Equatorial Africa, headquartered in Buganda, was murdered in Busoga on his way to Buganda. Mwanga had ordered his death. Hannington’s crime was to attempt to come to Buganda through Busoga, a shorter route than that employed by earlier visitors who took the route from south of lake Victoria. Buganda’s kings regarded Busoga as a backdoor to Buganda and thought that any one coming through the backdoor must have evil intentions towards the kingdom.

every 3rd June People from all over the world join

Joseph Mukasa Balikuddembe, a senior advisor to the king and a Catholic convert, condemned Mwanga for ordering Hannington’s death without giving him (Hannington) a chance to defend himself as was customary. Mwanga was annoyed that Mukasa would question his actions, and he had him arrested and killed. On Nov. 15 1885; Mukasa became the first Catholic martyr, when he was beheaded at Nakivubo. Between December of 1885 and May of 1886 many more converts were wantonly murdered. Mwanga precipitated a showdown in May by ordering the converts to choose between their new faith, and complete obedience to his orders. Those unwilling to renounce their new faith would be subject to death. Courageously, the neophytes chose their faith. The execution of twenty six Christians at Namugongo on June 3, 1886; was the climax of the campaign against the converts. The last person killed in this crusade, was Jean-Marie Muzeeyi, who was beheaded at Mengo on Jan 27, 1887. The complete list of the known martyrs is given below. The list of forty five known Catholic and Protestant martyrs includes only those who could be formally accounted for, many more murders went unreported and without a record.

Here is the list indicating when, where and how they were killed.

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In his efforts to curb the Christian influence and try to regain the traditional and customary powers and authorities over his subjects, Mwanga was adding more chaos to an already chaotic situation. In the north Kabarega (the king of Bunyoro Kitara a traditional arch enemy of Buganda) was raging, fighting off the pending invasion from the Khedive of Egypt and for sure he never lost his intentions towards Buganda. Further south it was reported that the Germans were annexing territories in the regions of the present Tanzania, and Mwanga was caught in a threatening position. His suspicion of the missionaries was therefore real. Buganda also was experiencing internal strife, the Moslems were plotting to overthrow him and replace him with a Moslem prince. The political upheavals combined with religious instability constrained the country’s moral stamina. The kingdom was thrown into turmoil; Moslems fighting Christians, traditionalists plotting against all creeds, untimely alliances concocted to survive against a common foe and later unceremoniously discarded. The kingdom broke into civil strife during which Mwanga was briefly deposed, although he was able to regain his throne later.

Rather than deter the growth of Christianity, the martyrdom of these early believers seems to have sparked its growth instead. As has been observed in many other instances, the blood of the martyrs proved to be the seed of faith. Christianity (in its various flavours) is now the dominant faith in Buganda and Uganda as a whole. The 22 known Catholic martyrs were declared “Blessed” by Pope Benedict XV in 1920. This is one of the key steps in the catholic tradition that eventually leads to canonization. The 22 Catholic martyrs were indeed canonized by Pope Paul VI on October 18, 1964; during the Vatican II conference. Thus these martyrs were now recognised by the universal church as being worthy of being honored as Saints. This was a first for modern Africa and a source of pride throughout the continent.

To honor these modern saints, Paul VI became the first reigning pope to visit sub-saharan Africa when he visited Uganda in July 1969; a visit which included a pilgrimage to the site of the martyrdom at Namugongo. He also dedicated a site for the building of a shrine church in honor of the martyrs, at the spot where Charles Lwanga was killed. The shrine church itself (shown above), was dedicated in 1975 and it was subsequently named a basilica church, a high honor in Catholicism. Archbishop Robert Runcie of Canterbury, and head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, also came on pilgrimage in January 1984. Pope John Paul II in turn honored the martyrs with his own pilgrimage in February 1993. Every year, June 3rd, when most of the martyrs were killed, is marked as a national holiday in Uganda. It is also marked worldwide on the church calender as a day to honor the Uganda Martyrs. Following is a portrait of the 22 canonized Catholic martyrs.

uganda martyrs Basilica


That’s the End of the Murrum road, turn left to Tarmac one.

Its 3:56 in the morning. I have been awake since two, because I am tired of sleeping. I am tired of being in deep sleep of my own life, while suns rise and set each day, and the hours of my life quietly drone on as I sit around waiting and praying that the way will reveal itself. I am waiting to accumulate evidence to support my haphazard belief that I am actually capable of being happy. Some divine switch that will go off one day, letting me know that all my hours of waiting and patience have paid off because I took the smart and responsible path, and sacrificed a lifetime of immediate happiness for long-term comfort.

I am tired of that passive bullshit.

I am tired of being in my own life; I am tired of smart and responsible.

Today I will do everything I am told I shouldn’t; I will quit a full-time job with benefits. I will quit a job with a promising and lucrative future. I will quit a job that others have convinced me is worth it. I will quit this job because when I look at the lives that the others lead, I feel suffocated. And all I see is darkness.

I do not want the life that the others lead. So why am I making the effort to mimic and mirror their path? Why do I stay and allow myself to feel small, worthless, disrespected, and hopeless? Why am I wasting another minute pursuing a dream with a ceiling? A dream imposed on me by parents, standards, society, peers and my father Richard Mutawe. Why am I continue to let many opportunities come my way to fade, because of strong desire to work, serve, and stay with people who don’t value our work? A self-imposed dreams because I am too afraid that I am not worthy or bigger and better.

I cannot be small anymore, I cannot play small, I cannot remain in such situation because someone else using my soft heart to treat me like a bullshit. I cannot be hated by my brothers and sisters, to remain alone in the world as if I am orphan. I can feel the exterior of myself-imposed shell cracking at every major joint in my body. I can feel the physical cage of my soul begging to fall apart,  I can hear voices from Parents Nakayemba Rose and Kaggwa Deogracious, Brothers and sisters Matovu Tony, Mutawe Julius, and Doreen, calling me to find new hope. This transformation may look like destruction, because of years I spent here at PTMOF, long lasting friends I got. It may look and feel like a breakdown, because I am quitting without any plan where to go. A train catapulting too fast down rusty tracks with lighter fluid pooling to either side, daring me to grab a match.

Taunting me, saying

“Who do you think you are? To think the rules don’t apply to you?”

 Anxiety, Fear, Shame.

Feeling like I am ready to crash and burn. I am ready to rise… God always is with me since I was born; I have been moving with him throughout primary at Kibale Primary, to secondary. St Mary’s s.s, Kabale ss, to University (MRU).

I am ready to be awake.

I will not sit on the sidelines of my life anymore, waiting to check boxes on my resume that should equate to meaning, longing, purpose, and self-love, (My transcript must be respected). Like I will reach the end of a maze and discover a golden box of worth that I will cling to for dear life because the prize was won after navigating through sacrifice and walls.

 I am blowing up the maze; I am climbing over the walls. I am not wasting another moment asleep at the wheel because it’s the safe thing to do.

I am tired of waiting to figure out who I am ready I am. There is no time to wait and to waste. I cannot be passive or docile. I am not comfortable with small; I am not going to wait for my savings to accumulate and my credit card bills to be paid before I begin to lay the groundwork of the life I actually want. I will love the foundation and I am ready to serve it outside, I will love people working at the foundation who treated me like a baby, I will miss everyone who loved me, treated me well, Alice you has been too good to me, my career mother, my mentor, my everything. You deserve my respect. Mariam, you has been good to me, loved me with all your heart, your soul, you has been my advisor, my counselor indeed, I will love you till the dawn of the light. Winnie, you have been inspiration to everyone, what a soul mate young mother!  Loving, bright, beautiful angel, born with smart cognition, you will be remembered. Salma, what a God’s treasure, what a bright future ahead! I treasure you like no one else, keep the candle burning, let light shine and bright to your family and the community you will serve. Director Salome, thank you for your