When a major life chapter comes to an end we often find ourselves in a state of reflection. What went well? What would I do differently, if I had the chance?
Ideally, we would soak up wisdom from those who have been there, done it and got the t-shirt and do things differently as a consequence.
This post by Francesca Turner is about just that! If you are a prospective or current university student then read on to find out what graduates are saying they would do differently if they could do it all over again.
1) Network more; we are all potential work colleagues
This is simply about getting to know the people you are studying with. They are quite possibly entering the same field of work as you and could help in the future by;
- Introducing you to employers and job openings
- giving you a personal recommendation on Linked In
That guy you don’t speak to in your Global Business module might be the CEO of that company you really want to work for in 10 years’ time. They won’t have a great impression of you if you blanked them for 3 years!
Plus, getting to know new people is actually fun! University is a chance to mix with people you might not normally meet and this often leads to lifelong friendships.
2) Spend more time with peers sharing good practice and learning from those with experience
Many tasks in the real world require team-work so university is a great chance to learn about your strengths and developmental points in this area.
We all process information differently and a classmate might be able to describe Contemporary Social Theory to you perfectly in a way you understand, whilst you pick out holes in the arguments in their Human Rights essay.
Maybe one of your peers has relevant real life work experience in the field you are studying and could add a lot to your understanding of a topic area.
3) Get stuck into some voluntary work
Research shows that students are more engaged with their studies if they are applying knowledge alongside academic work.
Don’t worry if your course doesn’t include work experience as there are loads of volunteer opportunities out there (try www.do-it.org) and local companies are often happy to hear from students willing to offer their skills.
Even if you are unsure what you want to do in the future then any work experience which interests you can build your transferable skills, open you up to new career areas and provide you with a bank of examples for interview situations.
4) Realise what a privilege it is to be able to study a subject you love
Many students report they feel that they rushed through their degree’s and wished they had taken more time enjoying their subject.
Only once the experience was over did they wish they had viewed their degree as a chance to read a subject they loved rather than a means to an end.
Think about the following (avoiding career/ salary related reasons) and write down your thoughts;
- why did you choose your subject?
- what do you love about it?
Pin it up somewhere you can see it every day. This can help you re-connect with your subject and reignite your passion.
5) Find out which support services are available
Many students report they discovered these when it was too late but recognised thier value.
Services usually on offer are;
- careers and enterprise
- study skills
- health and wellbeing
A search online on your university website will provide you with further information and contact details.
- If you are a graduate what would you do differently if you could have your time again?
- Current students- has this changed your perspective in any way?