The thing that captivates me […]
5 THINGS YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO AT UNIVERSITY
Here’s a cheeky wee list of all the things you thought you should, but really don’t, have to do at university…
1. Be busy.
Before you switch off your alarm and doze all day, hear me out. I’m not saying to give up on work, I’m just cautioning you about doing nothing but work. If you’re the kind of person that’s in the library 24/7, maybe you should think about slowing down a little. Some courses are intense. Believe me, I know. However, I’m keeping one day free every week, and with that day I can do whatever I want. I’ve felt healthier and have done better work the rest of the time because of this.
When you get a project, try to figure out how long everything will take and do work right from the beginning. Overnighters may be essential once in a while, but don’t make a habit of it. When you’re out in the real world you’re not always going to be able to stay overnight to finish everything up … now is the time to get good working habits!
2. Stay on campus.
You’ll probably be surprised at how far public transport can take you. When I was staying in Newcastle I got a Metro pass. This was fantastic as whenever I got a bit tired of the city I could take the train out to Tynemouth and walk along the beach. Most cities have free places to visit like museums, old houses and parks. Now go online to find parks and attractions that you can get to easily!
3. Give up your hobbies.
With that free day, you can do whatever you want. Over the years I’ve used my free time to draw, walk, write, play the piano, ride and work with horses, ice skate, join a film club, and volunteer in various places.
Several of these things have been vital in where my life has gone. The experience I gained while in the film club helped me choose where I went for further study. My work with horses (which I did because I got free riding lessons out of it) has given me a great CV entry, because I helped teach people how to ride.
Even when I’ve been doing something with most of my time that I haven’t enjoyed so much, I’ve always had my passions to fall back on. Keep the ones you love! They will often show you what you’re interested in, and really want to do.
4. Eat junk food.
So everyone loves a burger, or pizza, or carry-out. You can have a sort of distinction among your peers if you survive solely on baked beans. It’s funny when you look in the fridge and there’s nothing but last week’s milk. Well, okay, maybe it isn’t.
It’s fine if you treat yourself once in a while. In fact, I did today. (The burger was great, by the way.) However, you’re at university to further your education. Part of that education is learning to look after yourself, and food definitely comes into that. You don’t have to be an amazing cook to make healthy meals. Everyone has to start somewhere… Ask people about their cooking disasters, and it’ll cheer you right up. In my first few weeks of fending for myself I burnt pasta (don’t ask me how), dropped my whole dinner on the floor, and set a frying pan on fire. I’ve learnt a lot since then, and so will you.
5. Focus on yourself.
Your first interview is scary. It’s even scarier when they don’t ask you anything about your grades or what class of degree you graduated with. Instead they ask about what teamwork experience you have. You frantically try to remember that workshop you attended three years ago where you completed all those trust exercises. What do you say?
This is where so many education systems completely fail. School and university don’t really tell you how to play well with others. They teach how to take tests and get good grades. Sadly, that’s not what the real world is looking for. Employers want employees with good people skills, attention to detail, a professional work ethic, and experience.
You might think you don’t have any of that, and you might be right. I came out of university without having done a single day’s paid work. However, I had experience from different places.
When asked what teamwork experience I had, I said I’d helped to lead a children’s camp with a group of other young adults. Some situations even got pretty stressful. And there are so many other things I’ve done that can be used in this way… What I’m saying is that those experiences you collect around your time studying can be just as important as what you’re studying. When you give your time to others – and take the focus from yourself – you will be rewarded.Tweet Share5
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