A letter to students on holidays: The top 7 things to do!

Students from different institutions of higher learning in South Africa are currently on a break
from academics for the June/July holidays. I have had the privilege for the past 7 years to
work with and for students and…

I’ve learnt about their struggles and challenges and also about
their frustrations and moments of joy.

Every year just before or during the holidays, I always get a request from a few students who ask advice and/or recommendations on what they can possibly do during the holidays. It is from these multiple requests I have received and continue to receive that I decided to honour the call made by students and share my perspective with them. I have to admit that there are a number of things that students can consider doing during the school holidays in order to keep themselves busy, entertained, focused and most importantly to upskill themselves, gain experience, knowledge, and above all add value to society.

In what follows, I will explore the top 7 things for students to do during the holidays. I am sharing these inputs in no particular order of importance.

Number 1- Read

Professor Es’kia Mphahlele posits that “Once a person has learnt to read, there is no
limit to how much he or she can grow in knowledge and the power to use it.” Reading offers an opportunity for learning, it opens a window to a new world and liberates your mind. Books are in abundance online and in local libraries. If you are a first time reader, you may consider asking some of the avid readers you know to recommend a few books for you to start reading. If you do not know what to read about, I urge you to start reading about how technology is changing your industry as a student and a future professional in the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

Read so that you can learn and adapt to the changes expected and already happening. In my book, “A Learner’s Guide To Academic Success (2016), I also recommend that,

“If you want to earn more, you have to learn more and if you want to learn more, you have to read more.”

An alternative to reading will be to watch videos on the subject matter you want to learn about.

Number 2- Learn Your History

 If you want to know where you are going, “you have to know where you come from.” One of the best ways to learn about your history is through oral history by engaging with the elders of your community. This engagement will enable you to reconnect with your elders and people of your community as your history is something that binds you together and are both equally vested in the affairs of your past. It rest upon you to document your history, this will include simple task of recording your clan names and poems through writings and/or with audio. Use your technological devices to do that so that they can be archived. You will be doing justice to your people and yourself by carrying out this fundamental task, and most importantly, you will be clear of who you are and your origins as person. After engaging on your personal and clan history, the next step should be to learn about the history of South Africa, Africa and other places of the world. As you learn about these histories, ensure you are also learning about the new developments as and when they happen across the world.

Number 3 -Learn New Skills

 Learn new skills. The future ahead of us demands us to be a generation of young people with outstanding portfolio and skills that we can use to trade and make a living with. As Cassper Nyovest once said in 2016, “Kusazoba lit.” Technological advancements are changing the way we live, the world of work and how we interact as people. It is therefore imperative to learn new skills of the 21st century. Learn these skills so that you can be a value creator. During these holidays, learn technological skills, social skills, and leadership skills to mention but a few. In the process of your learning, use the skills you have learnt to empower others in your community and also share the knowledge you have acquired with your communities, after all, that is the fundamental responsibility and moral obligation of an active and engaged citizen.

If you take care of your skills, they will take care of you.

Always bear in mind that “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” -Alvin Toffler.

Number 4 -Serve with your skills

 Bonang Matheba proposes that, “we must give the people what they want.” Do something valuable for your community. It is your fundamental and moral obligation to serve your community. Give them the knowledge that they do not only want but desperately need. Each and every community has challenges and sometimes there is a project addressing one or more of these challenges. Use the knowledge you have acquired to serve your community, for example, you can assist young people to apply for college/university entry as well as bursaries and other post-schooling opportunities. You can also tutor them on subjects you have a better understanding on. You can also teach them coding and so on and forth. As you will be teaching others, over time you will realise that you are learning valuable soft skills which you will not be able to learn just as an ordinary student at an institution of higher learning who is not involved in programmes.

Number 5- Reflect

 Reflect- Review the goals you have set for yourself at the beginning of the year and check how far you are in your journey of becoming. After this process, reach out and engage with senior and experienced people for advice and counsel. The beauty about consulting with people who have travelled the road you are travelling is that you will avoid the mistakes they have made and their lessons will add value to your journey. Start engaging with the content of what you will be doing when you return from holidays. The content might also be available online on different platforms.

Number 6 – test your ideas

 If you have an idea to do something, this is the prime time for you to do research on it or test it depending on what level your idea is. Engage people doing what you wish to do, learn as much as you can.

Number 7- The joy is in the journey

 Read this again and implement and let me know how it went for you after the holidays! Finally, remember that the joy was, still is, and will forever remain in the journey of becoming. Your story is still unfolding, the best is yet to come and the best pages are yet to be written.

Moswane Mafule Morelearn
Write in his personal capacity
Volunteer at: www.facultyofbestadvisory.org.za
Ambassador at: www.clubreadership.co.za
Author: A learner’s Guide to Academic Success (2016) and Katrina and Other Untold Stories

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1 thought on “A letter to students on holidays: The top 7 things to do!

  1. Very well summarized Morelearn. Like you have mentioned things that I would take granted for, or things I thought I was doing but actually not consistent. This definitely applies to also people like us in early careers to find things to do during our leave days or weekends. Learning about our history us something I haven’t really invested in and am looking forward to doing it practically and passionately

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