So we’re well into October now, that time of the year when the buzz of university has died down a bit. Freshers was a madness (but let’s not talk about that). As a fresher hopefully at this time you’ve more or less settled into the university environment and as a returner sights set on making the most of the new year.
As such, we thought it would make sense to have the first post based on uni. Something we’ve noticed among many many of our peers is this ‘get my first and ghost‘ attitude to university. Whilst it might seem like the ideal situation in the short run, this interesting perspective of university is just not the one. Not too sure why a lot of us tend to believe this mindset is beneficial to pursue.
If you find yourself falling into this category, you might be thinking what’s wrong with thinking/doing this. We would hope that you’re going to uni to make the most of the £9.2k a year experience? If so, this weighs heavily on how you use the uni opportunities to improve yourself as a person – not just in the lecture room.
‘Starting with the end in sight’ – a well known phrase which makes a lot of sense in this context. Around 700,000 students will be starting university this year in the UK alone, most of which will be aiming for the best graduate jobs and work place opportunities. Let’s say half have gone to university and left with nothing to show for it but a first class. The other half have taken full advantage of the extracurricular and have been able to improve their social and professional skills – also leaving with a first class.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that an employer would be more than likely to snatch up candidates in the second category. If you know anyone currently doing a year in industry or grad role they’ll deffo tell you that the job market is harder than you might think – it’s not a joke ting at all. You need to be doing something that will make you stand out amongst your peers and employers will be expecting this. A lot of them don’t pay much attention to the grades on a CV (they still need to be good tho) – but will often delve into the other aspects of a candidate reflected from previous experiences. Anything that will put you that one step ahead will more than likely work in your favour.
Get out of your bubble! In uni there is so much opportunity to build your skill set, pile up experiences and solidify your personal/professional profile. So how do you do this?
- Societies and clubs: There are so many societies and clubs available in university to get involved in. Each of which can add value to you in some respect. By getting involved we don’t mean just buying a membership and attending functions. We have to stress the importance of actively participating in anyway available, on or off the committee. This is how skills are developed. As a black student, it’s important to remember that the ACS is not the only society!!!! Sure the ACS is great for making friends and everything but you need seek other societies that can pursue your niche interests. This is something a lot of us tend to forget.
- Sports: Sporting clubs vary across unis and often play a big role – if you go Loughborough you’ll know this all too well! Getting involved in the sports clubs is another great way to improve yourself on paper. Team work and communication skills are instant qualities that can be gained and refined – always great to see on a strong CV and a topic of discussion at interviews. If there’s a sport you see yourself doing, do it.
- Course representatives: These are students that play an instrumental role in how the course is designed. Course reps are essentially a bridge between the student body and the lecturers allowing for the issues of the course to be highlighted. As a course rep you are introduced to a lot of responsibilities that will add value to your CV and help you stand out.
Making the most of uni is not exclusive to the three points highlighted. There are many other things such as being a student ambassador, campus representative for a company or even involving yourself in on campus charity work (RAG). You just need to seek out what works for you.
Don’t fall into the trap of ghosting through uni to end the 3/4 years thinking ‘if only I did this’ or ‘why didn’t I take advantage of this’. Uni is what you make it, the better you use its opportunities the better it will be for you on the job market – ask anyone. (The better your uni experience will be too).
Hopefully this short post has got some of you thinking. Of course go uni, have fun, live your best life! But always have the end in sight. For those that would like any help/advice with making the most of uni feel free to leave a comment or shout one of us directly if our courses relate to you.
Finally to all those starting or going back to uni this Autumn, we wish you all the best in your studies. Embrace the new challenges!
The RealTalk Team
“Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you” – David McCullough