Making The Best Of Your University Experience!

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UWI Social Sciences Orientation 2018. Photo taken by Neville Charlton

“Starting your university experience can be a challenge, especially for those who has just left high school. On the upside, your university years will be some of the best you’ll have. You will meet new friends, discover new opportunities, and experience the melting pot of intellectual and cultural interactions in the region.”

UWI Mona Entrance. Photo Source | Google Images


Our Chairman of Youths Inspiring Positive Change Ja, Neville Charlton, recently caught up with Dr. Lloyd Waller, Head of The Department of Government at The University of West Indies to get his input on how students can make the best out of their university experience.

Photo source: Jamaica Gleaner

“In the last ten years, Dr. Waller has published over 50 articles, books, book chapters, scientific research papers, and technical reports covering areas such as: youth mainstreaming and empowerment, youth in governance and development, innovations in research methods, e-government, e-participation, e-governance, e-voting, and e-protesting. He has received several Principal’s Award for research with the greatest business/economic/development impact from the University of the West Indies (Mona Campus).                                                                        

Dr. Waller has also managed several local, regional, and international research projects related to youth development, youth and democracy, as well as the use of information and communication technologies for government and governance (e-government and e-governance).” Read more, Dr. Waller

Neville: - What’s your top three (3) advice to new students.

Dr. Waller: -

1.    Share information, it’s not just one degree.

2.    Do as much reading as possible, and always be prepared for your tutorials.

3. Try to ensure you know your lecturers and ensure they know you.

Neville: - How did you get into the Department of Government?

Photo source : JIS

Dr. Waller: - That’s an interesting question. I have a first degree in International Relations and Minor in Political Science and Sociology. I have a masters in Sociology and Development and my PHD is on Sociology and Social Policy with a focus on Digital transformation, so looking at how technology affects people, group and society. I am a political sociologist, while my primary area is sociology, I can say I have worked in every department, from Government to Sociology to Management studies to anthropology to gender studies to creative studies to humanities and media. I had applied for a job as a tutor and got the job to teach Research Methods and over the last ten years, I was promoted to assistant lecturer, then lecturer, then senior lecture, then head of the department of Government.

Neville: It has been quite a journey, so share some fun facts about your University experience, any fun facts?

Photo Source : Google Images

Dr. Waller: - The truth be told, I was a student who was very participatory, so I was involved in a lot of clubs and societies. I was actually on The Guild, I was the Social Sciences representative. Honestly I did actually have a lot of fun time. I honestly can’t remember doing any work, I did get upper second class honors. I went to my lecturers religiously, I went to my tutorials religiously, but my memory of UWI had a lot to do with mischief making, student’s activism, when it came to dealing with student’s issues on the guild from demonstrations to remonstrations.


Neville: - It’s obvious that there are more females compared to males, as a male leading in his profession, what would you say to other males to gain an education and becoming future leaders?

Photo source | Google Images

Dr. Waller: - There are a lot of reason. My advice is, young men need more mentoring, there is a lot of misguided young men, who need a sense of direction and need some assistance, as the generations shift, I don’t think the fathers and love is there. So in a nutshell more guidance, mentorship, brotherhood and strong role models. I must say, in the Department of Government, there is a lot of support for our students.

Neville: - In closing, what are some of your success stories as the Head of Department of Government?

Dr. Waller: - When I started as HOD in 2012, I realized the Department of Government had no outreach programme, so I decided to start the Governance society. The UWI Mona Governance Society promotes the importance of participation, transparency and accountability. The society also facilitate and promote the integration and continued participation of young people in the formulation and implementation of national development policies and programs as well as raising awareness about good governance in high schools and the community.  

The second one is the UWI Mona Department of Government High Achievers Society which I started in the same year as the Governance society. The H.A.S. comprises of a selective number of individuals, who have been selected based on their outstanding academic achievements. They facilitate and promote the integration and continued participation of young people in the formulation and implementation of national development policies and programs.

The third one is the Parliamentary Internship program, which sees graduate students providing research services for parliamentarians. Read more Parliament's Internship Programme Returns

Our top 4 advice to students are simple,

·         Don’t procrastinate, do it now and don’t wait for later.

·         Keep focused, ensure you keep your head on your body.

·         Don’t let the school work stress you, find time to enjoy yourself.

·         Surround yourself with positive friends and an environment that will challenge you to be the best version of yourself.

“Now challenge yourself this academic year, maintain that A plus GPA, join a club or society, network, meet some new friends, and just have some fun, the world is yours to conquer!”