In my second year I wish I’d…
Something you’ll regularly hear from third years is “ah if only I’d done this in my second year…”. This usually comes at 3am on dissertation hand-in date, then later on mid-job hunt as they realise the “experience” section of their C.V is frighteningly bare. I urge you not to become the person complaining about the fact that a couple of months at McDonalds and the work experience they force you to do at sixteen aren’t considered marketable qualities.
So, as a third year student, what would I do again? Realistically, I would still be in the pub complaining the questions on the quiz are unreasonably difficult. However, I didn’t have any advice given to me as a second year, so perhaps I can turn my unfulfilled wishes into a few helpful hints for somebody else.
Firstly, I’d get as much work experience as I could. Unpaid work experience can really suck, and in some cases it’s simple exploitation. However, it’s easier to find and if you’re lucky could possibly lead to a proper job when you’re finished. Most third year students simply do not have the time to work for free, and when you’re desperately hunting for a job for after you’ve graduated it can be frustrating to constantly read “this position is unpaid”.
Secondly, I’d start a blog and commit to it. Obviously, for people who want to be writing as part of their career, keeping a blog is obvious. However it can be very helpful for people studying in any field. It shows employers you can commit to something, and shows off your knowledge of your field. For example, a chemistry student could write their thoughts and reactions to chemistry-related news. Most importantly, regularly update! It looks pretty bad if you only have three posts from months and months ago, so make sure you set time aside to update it.
Thirdly, I’d think more about my dissertation. Some people even manage to finish their dissertations over the summer, which is fantastic if you can do it. However, for many it’s easier said than done. I remember having the same idea. Cut to me, two days before hand in, freaking out, convinced it’s not good enough. Personally, I’d just set myself the task of having read most of the important materials on my topic, and maybe have an initial plan.
I could go on and on, offering such gems as “spend less money” and “don’t fall out with your housemates”, but, alas, I don’t have that much space. The point is, the “third year breakdown” doesn’t have to be so awful, and even if I only convince one person to do some forward thinking, I’d consider it worth it.