20 October 2021

Peter: my top 4 tips for current students

As part of Future First’s Black History Month celebrations, we’re highlighting voices from our black alumni community. Check out our other latest blogs here, or if you are a teacher, get in touch with us for a free Black History Month classroom activity pack.

By Peter Onuba, Skinners’ Academy alumnus

My advice for students:

1. We’re all still figuring it out- even the ones with a plan!

Our education system does a lot of work preparing young people for the working world in a variety of ways (uni, apprenticeships, internships etc), and oftentimes we are burdened with the unrealistic idea that we should have this grand 10 year plan that we have to rigorously stick to – but the fact is, a lot of people don’t have a grand plan. And that’s ok.

We are constantly exposed to industries, fields and activities that can easily pique our interest – we are discovering the ‘self’ whilst simultaneously navigating our way through. You might have an International Relations BA  and end up working for a PR Company – the point is, you have time – use it to discover, to have fun. Life’s pieces fall together randomly, yet beautifully!

2. Make organic connections with people

As cliche as the saying is – there is no “I” in team – you’re not an island and we need all the help we can get in this life. You never know what you could learn from someone or what someone could learn from you. You could step into your next role, create a startup, work on exciting projects all from sowing the seeds early on.

3. Embrace change and take breaks – life comes in seasons!

We go through different ‘seasons’ in life – it’s not one linear process. The trajectory isn’t always straight or smooth unfortunately. Embrace the great times and learn from the hardships. No one learns anything from comfort, so don’t be afraid to go through it – you come out wiser and stronger once you look past your fear of failure or uncertainty.

4. Be intentional!

When you’re intentional, you have a goal and a purpose and you’re able to decipher or navigate through situations. Intentionality means you don’t stumble into random spaces, but into the right ones. We increase our chances of success and growth when we wake up with a target and purpose. Have a routine, practice it and include rest.

5.  You always have help! 

People are there to help you! Keeping yourself isolated won’t help you find solutions. It’s helpful to bond and share experiences with people because the chances are, they’ve been through or are currently going through your same predicament and just may have some useful advice.

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Finding your feet: Emmanuel’s advice
Deborah: my journey as a young black woman
Samson: why Black History Month is important to me and my top tips for students