5 December 2013

How to MAKE THE MOST of university

Originally on The Ripple

I recently realised that a LOT of the useful and interesting things I've done in the last three years have been part of university life. You could easily argue that that's because where I've been for the last three years but in actual fact we spend a much higher percentage of the year at home than we do an university. I came to Leicester exactly two years and three months ago (I've been saying three years because I'm in third year but I guess it's not entirely accurate) where the closest thing I had work experience was being a college prefect.

In six months time I'll be leaving with a full CV, loads of experience, memories and friends. It's not because I'm lucky or just amazing or anything like that - it's just because when someone says, for example, "Are you interested in joining Ladies Hockey?" I said yes! I never understand why people don't do the same. Someone gives you the opportunity to do something great, to make new friends, learn new skills, and some people just let this pass them by! My question is why? What have you got to lose?

I'm not trying to sell Leicester university to anyone or convince people to join Ladies Hockey (most definitely the best club in the world), I'm just trying to say why not doing something a bit different? Try out something new?

I decided to write a 'listicle' (list+article, something The Ripple president has been talking about a lot. Here's a link if you're interested to learn a bit more about it: http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2013/aug/12/5-ways-listicle-changing-journalism).

So here are my 10 TOP TIPS to MAKE THE MOST of university:

1. Join as many societies as you can squeeze in - make sure there is a crazy one too like the Curry Society my housemates and I joined in first year.

2. Similarly, join a sports team! I really really feel strongly about this one. It doesn't matter if you have absolutely no coordination at all, it's a great way to meet new people, do some exercise and find people to go out with. Almost all university sports teams have socials and they are just the best! Whether you drink alcohol or not they are so much fun and can range from a Nandos night to full-on pub golf. Ladies Hockey is the one thing I would never give up. To copy Nike, Just do it!

3. Go to lectures and seminars. BORING right? Well that's what you're paying for isn't it? So you might as well go, pass the course, learn some new stuff and there's always a good bit of people watching available if you sit near the back.

4. Try to remember the names of EVERY person you meet. Okay, this sounds completely unrealistic, and for some people impossible, but it can really help you out. You never know when you might need the help of that person you meet in ASDA during Freshers' - they may even turn out to be on your course!?

5. Work in the library. Right this sounds obvious yes? But the amount of people who are either doing absolutely no work whatsoever and insist on talking in the silent zone, and there are also people who manage to go their whole university time without sitting down in the library. I think it's a good idea to keep work and fun separate, that way you'll get your work done faster and better and have more time for fun later. Also the library has free heating and WiFi! You'd be stupid not to make the most of the fact you can sit in vest at a clean desk for as long as you want without anyone stopping you (hopefully).

6. Visit the careers people. Most universities have a careers department and I'll admit I was pretty sceptical after my first appointment with an unhelpful lady who refused to look at my CV even though I'd spent hours on it because I hadn't filled in the prep sheet. But I went again this week, trying a different guy (Philip Williams - I'd recommend him), and he was really nice, gave me a couple of tips and just made me feel a bit more confident about what I did have. It's their job to help you get a job, you'd be foolish not to listen to their advice when it's free.

7. Do some volunteering. Even if it's just one day and it doesn't seem that fun, it's worth it. It looks really good on your CV and if like me you never had a job before university, it's a great place to start. There are a lots of opportunities out there, surely one to suit everyone.

8. Write something. This will probably sound like a plug but writing for a student newspaper or even your own blog is a really good way of showing employers that you have your own interest and opinions, and you're not some student robot. (It's a bit odd telling people to blog in my blog but you know what I mean!)

9. Sleep less. There are 24 hours is a day. You don't need more than six hours of sleep to function properly and naps are always an option. If you train your body to accept six then it won't know any different. This way you have more time to do things you actually want to do - like watch The Great British Bake Off!

10. Enjoy it! Simple enough. I don't seen any point in choosing to do things if you or someone/thing you care about doesn't get anything out of it. Surely it's just a waste of time then?

If you're like me, you're reading this and you only have six months left, then don't worry! You can still do most of these things before you leave. Just start now. Right now!

BIG thanks to everyone who keeps reading this! They bring me through my Thursdays!

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