The hardships of education
I only came across the Grid™ after finishing my undergrads. While I can’t change the past, with hindsight I can now see how I could have done better so I focus on the now. Learning about the Grid and working with it has made me appreciate how the Grid™ could help students have a far better experience at University and protect their mental health.
University was not easy for me. I felt stressed and anxious by the constant deadlines, and the fear of not getting a good grade often fuelled my fear of failure, causing me to procrastinate further.
I felt stressed and anxious
Sometimes I would stare at my computer for hours achieving little. I was frustrated that other people handled it all better somehow but I would not admit it.
Student life through the Grid™ lens
The Grid™ splits everything into four quadrants: Personal Life – Self Care – Work/Studies/Business – Career. Each quadrant represents an aspect of our total life that deserves attention but is easy to neglect when you’re a student.
University can change each area drastically but not always for the better as I show below based on my experience.
Personal life: Grid™ Quadrant 1
University is often sold to students as “the best years of your life” experience. Tis is an insane expectation that can easily backfre and make you feel like you’re wasting your life there. What is true is that going to University will most probably put you way outside your current comfort zone.
Your life goes into massive turmoil as you’re suddenly faced with having to deal with everything at once: creating new professional relationships with University staff and academics, creating new friendships and maintaining your old ones, managing money, housing, staying on top of your studies, and still having all the fun you were promised. Balancing all this takes a great deal of responsibility and makes you realise you are not prepared for it.
Self-Care: Grid™ Quadrant 2
Your self-care skills really need cranking up. Where before you could rely on your parents, now you’re on your own!
Doing laundry, food shopping, creating a sense of privacy while sharing space with strangers, getting enough sleep all require discipline, planning and organisation. You may have more freedom being away from home, but with it come new responsibilities for looking after more than just your general appearance.
Your health and wellbeing begins to matter as without them you can’t do well.
Work/Studies: Grid™ Quadrant 3
University has earned a reputation for being challenging for a reason. Putting in the work will help you do well, but it can also take over your life.
Time for fun, sleep, and your personal life can easily get squeezed out. University work is one of the biggest reasons why most students neglect the other Grid quadrants.
The pressure to do well is high and has dangerous knock-on effects including: risk of overwork, erosion of confidence, procrastination, self-loathing and more. Studies can definitely impact your mental and emotional wellbeing in a bad way.
Career: Grid™ Quadrant 4
As the university years go by, your career focus goes from a vague concern for your future after University to intense pressure to get a job. Having a degree does not feel like enough.
In addition, constant social media make it seem as if everyone around you is somehow doing better than you. It feels like relief will only come when you get hired and prove to yourself that studying was not a waste of time.
All along your career turmoil can include: a feeling of inadequacy, challenges of having to find and manage work internships, contemplating or maybe trying out entrepreneurship, having to find your way through multiple networking events, needing and wanting to take on extracurricular training, and managing job applications.
In a nutshell, there is plenty to do career-wise for students.
Great breeding ground for a string of bad outcomes
With all of the above factors to manage and pressures to face, there are a lot of things that can get you down as a student: anxiety, weight gain, regrets, financial problems, bad sleep schedules, inadequate living situations, loneliness, relationship problems, procrastination that fuels self-doubt, unmet expectations and many more.
While Universities try to offer support, the best help you can create for yourself is to learn to manage these competing demands for yourself. This is where the Grid™ comes in!
A great University experience is possible!
University is a special time. You will meet many interesting people and create relationships that last for the rest of your life. You also get to learn about something that interests you. And, you learn a lot about yourself.
University helps you grow up and own your life. Tools like the Grid™ can help make this and much more possible.
A Note from Dr. Magdalena Bak-Maier, Grid™ Inventor and MTC Founder
I have much empathy for students of today. University education is costly and no longer guarantees better career prospects. Many curriculum fail to match what employers need from their future workforce: concrete and useful skills.
Being a student brings with it challenges many will face for the first time. This is why, I’m very excited about this case study written by our first intern at MTC, Nikolas Melo.
While Nik discovered the Grid™ only after finishing his degree, his perspective will inspire young and mature students. It shows why skills of focus, goal setting, balance, organisation and discipline are vital life, success and career skills.
How the Grid™ can help you?
One of the things you learn quickly in University is that there are many things you can not control. On the flip side, the one thing you have authority over is what you decide to do, and how.
This, in my view, is the most powerful skill you can develop whilst at University.
The Grid™ will help you see and plan your student life better as a whole, as well as help you get the most from each day. Looking at your life through the Grid™ quadrants will give you clarity and focus, as well as help you pinpoint concrete steps to take towards success. By looking after each quadrant on a regular basis, you can ace your studies and have a great University experience.
The Grid™ will help you develop incredible workplace skills and strong mental, emotional and physical fitness. Such a healthy way of being comes in handy for mastering University life but will last you for the rest of yours.