University is a playground: up your game!
Freshers’ flu has done the rounds, books are quickly mounting up on the ‘to read’ pile and you’re well accustomed to the small wee hours of the morning by now (whether that’s for work or pleasure we’ll leave to your discretion) – it’s clear to say first semester is well underway.
If you haven’t fully immersed yourself in uni life, there’s no time like the present.
When else in life will you have a schedule that allows you to dedicate equal amounts of time to ‘work’ and ‘play’? To try anything on a whim, from Ultimate Frisbee to stand-up comedy? To fuel a life-long passion or discover like-minded aficionados from the Harry Potter or Horology* societies?
Amidst the academia and the end goal of graduation, university is legitimately a playground for 3 years – a place to figure out who you are and who you’re not, and where you can try out every conceivable interest or hobby for free (or at a heavily subsidised price).
You’re 3 or less years away from 9-5 commitments so don’t waste your uni life with what ifs – here’s 3 ways to maximise your time and even set you up for life beyond campus.
1. Hi, society
Whether you’ve just experienced your first freshers’ fair or frequent them regularly for the free pizza (keyrings, condoms, posters, stress balls, bonsai trees…) – the amount of societies is overwhelming.
There’s a society for every interest and passion – and if not, set your own up and you’ll be sure to find like-minded enthusiasts. Join a society and continue an existing hobby or try something new from the weird to the wonderful.
It’s important to balance your studies with other interests and add a new dimension to your character – this not only gives you plenty to talk about at interviews, proves you can manage your time efficiently and makes you a well-rounded individual.
2. ‘Give and take’ – volunteer!
Some disgruntled taxpayers complain about too many students going to university, wasting money (albeit it is a loan) and draining parents’ pockets.
Part-time jobs aren’t always feasible when you’re at university when flexible working hours are difficult to come by or if you have an intense work schedule.
Why not then give something back to society in the meantime by volunteering?
Just like societies, volunteering expands your horizons and gives you an opportunity to meet new people and gain worthwhile experiences. Volunteer opportunities in your local area including the Army Cadet Force provide you with a range of skills such as first aid training and leadership – all of which looks great to a future employer.
3. The social network
Something they don’t always tell you at uni is that life is as much about who you know as well as what you know.
Long before LinkedIn, Facebook’s humble beginnings were on campus with students connecting with one another. Whether Zuckerburg was conscious or not, social network connections are valuable long after university as fellow students crop up in working life and they might even help you get a foot in the door.
Therefore it’s time to perfect the magic ‘n’ word long before you find yourself in the working world – network, network, network!
Make as many friends as possible at university and nurture your social network. Pretty soon you’ll all be escaping to various corners of the world and having a wide group of friends means you’re less likely to find yourself flying solo in a new city, and even better, you’ll have free accommodation on offer in all directions.