Congratulations – you did it!
Only a couple more weeks to go before you enter turn your backs on the help of your parents and enter a whole new chapter of independence. Yes, it may sound daunting and a small part of you may be feeling a bit fragile of what is to come but needs not to worry, this post is all about how you can make the most out of your time at university.
Throughout my four years here at University within two of those years, I have managed to put myself forward for opportunities that potentially make me a more employable candidate and this is because I would have more experience than some of my peers. Do not get me wrong, life as a student is fun and games but nowadays the job market is becoming increasingly competitive and in most circumstances when applying for a graduate job or most full-time jobs, you would need more than just a degree in order to better your chances in the application process.
Fortunately, the best thing about most of the options listed don’t take much of your time at all and could be complimentary towards your course modules. So enjoy freshers, drink if you so wish (be responsible), make new friends but at the end of the day – your degree comes first so make these next few years valuable because a hell of a lot of money is invested that would eventually need to be paid back. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Join a society/sports club/course group: The best way to integrate within the university culture is to join a club. Most universities are likely to have some sort of society or sports club that caters to everybody’s interests from Basketball to Harry Potter to Architecture if not, you could always create your very own! Joining a society/sports club means you get to meet like-minded people and enjoy the activities with the additional benefits of attending socials catered to you and so forth. Also, it’s a great way to keep yourself busy and relax after a long day spent in lectures and seminars or after long grueling study sessions in the library. [Related]
- Be a part of the committee!: If you really grow to love your sports club/course group/society, why not put yourself forward to be a committee member? Whether it’s President, Treasurer or Social Co-Ordinator, running a society is a really great way to learn new skills from communication, negotiation to planning and organisation – all which are very favourable to employers.
2. Participating in employability projects/business challenges: This may not apply to all but I am sure that your chosen university would have a careers advice team or employability team of some sort available to assist with mock interviews, CV and cover letter writing and more similar services. If this service is available, get to know who they are and their role (this may be explained during induction week) and check their website or visit their section to see if they have any in-house awards or projects that you can sign up to. A lot of these awards or business projects usually require you to work in a team for a certain period of time to solve a problem for a local or national business or attend guest lecture(s) and write some sort of reflection piece on
If this service is available, get to know who they are and their role (this may be explained during induction week) and check their website or visit their section to see if they have any in-house awards or projects that you can sign up to.
A lot of these awards or business projects usually require you to work in a team for a certain period of time to solve a problem for a local or national business or attend guest lecture(s) and write some sort of reflection piece on what you learned and how this can benefit you in the workplace. Many interviewers may ask you a number of competency based questions which require you to reflect on how you applied certain skills to achieve a particular goal so working closely with your careers team can help you to confidently achieve this.
- Find a part-time/volunteer role: Many of my friends who have graduated told me that the one (0f the few) things they regret were not finding a job or doing a volunteering role during the holidays. Whether it’s paid or non-paid, the experience of any sort can be very valuable on your CV especially volunteering roles that are directly linked to your chosen career path as you would have gained a sneak insight into the working environment.
- Do a placement!: Similar to above, an even better choice would be to do a year-in-industry or take a gap year and do a paid internship with a company of your choice. With most placements, dependent on the location you could be earning anything £12,000 to £18,000 for the year with benefits! Nice glimpse into the working lifestyle if taxes and bills didn’t exist lol. In addition to this, you may have the opportunity to attend events to build your network and if your performance is exceptional your line manager may offer you a graduate role once you finished. [Related]