Get the most out of your first year at university.
So, you have arrived at your university with far too many boxes and you have waved goodbye to your family/friends. What happens now?
You may have many thoughts running through your head and you’re feeling completely overwhelmed. Just remember you are not alone!
Here are some tips to help you on your way to success…
Be wise with your money
The initial costs of books, other course-specific items and rent can be a shock, but learning to budget your money will mean a lot less stress later on.
- When shopping check out all the shops, maybe swap brand names to the shops own to save some money
- Check out online for 2nd hand books as students tend to sell their books to get some money back when they leave uni.
- Set up a savings account so you can keep your student loan money away from the money you may be earning (cause you’re getting a job while you learn, right?) and set yourself a spending allowance.
Organise your work load.
It might feel like a huge jump from sixth form/college to university, it’s natural to miss the routine of school. Independent learning and assignment management can be hard to get the hang of at first. Create yourself a system to make it easier.
- Prioritise readings and exercises that will help you with your assignments later on in term
- Learn to plan your work early to avoid unnecessary pressure later on in term
- Always leave yourself time to redraft your work, the tutor will know if you hand in your first draft so make sure its what you want them to read cause you have taken your time.
- Always back up your files just in case something goes wrong.
Finding a balance between “work” and “fun” is also important.
The main reason you have gone to university is to get a degree but it’s not the only thing you will learn.
- Give yourself time to find things you like, meet new people, visit new places.
- University’s offer a wide range of societies and clubs, take time to explore them. Remember participating in non-academic activities is fun and will boost your employability prospects.
Those who get involved with extra-curricular activities early on in their university experiences are attractive to prospective employers.
Here’s an idea of those that can help you develop those transferable skills making you useful to future employers:
- Part-time job: as well as a way to earn money, part-time jobs can give you great work experience. It is beneficial to start thinking about this early on during your academic career. This could also come in many forms whether it be in retail, voluntary, promotions or helping with a family business.
- Extra skills-related workshops: these are skills developed outside of your academic career by going above and beyond your core subjects. Have you taken employability-related workshops or attended networking events? Have you taken a first-aid course or evening classes to learn a new language? All of these will help to develop your core skillset.
- Voluntary work/Community Service, from volunteering at a local charity shop, at a business perhaps on special projects to working in a nursing home, helping others in your own time signifies you’re gaining work experience while giving back to your local community
- Governance/Student Body: being involved in student affairs can be important to university life. How about being elected to a student committee or representing the student body as an academic representative?
- Event organising: often there are facilities and opportunities to hold events whether it be a small bake-sale to raise some money or a campus bar event. These display skills of organisation, time-management and leadership (often a team is involved to assist in running the event) and will also give you a feeling of success when you see that event come to fruition!
- Sport: Joining a sports team or even coaching your local school’s team can provide a whole set of transferable skills including competitive spirit and teamwork
- Society: societies are there for students to try something new and meet new people with shared interests. Depending on what you are looking for, they can appear in all different forms from sports to dance or academic societies.
- Media: student media is a good way to get involved in the fun part of university. The student paper or radio station are just a couple of ways to get involved in student news that is relevant to you. Also, creating a blog or regularly interacting on social media both represent an interactive and media savvy individual.
- Business/Enterprise: many students spot a ‘gap-in-the-market’ during their academic career and act upon it creating a small business opportunity. This is eye-catching for employers as it shows entrepreneurial instinct and someone who is not afraid to act upon their ideas to make them happen.
Remember involvement is the first step, but once you have attended a few sessions then why not take it a step further and take on a leadership position. Such skills create a well-rounded individual and help to make your brand stand out.
Once you’ve ticked off a few of these activities why not apply to one of our graduate jobs.