Last week I had the pleasure and honour of giving a speech to Undergraduate students in the Tourism and Events Management subjects of the Northampton Business School at the University of Northampton. It was fantastic to be invited back and meet students from all walks of life, united in their quest for knowledge and skills; I’m sure they will all go on to do amazing things.
The Chambers might seem like a bit of an odd place to post about my university experience but there will be many members who are studying or know someone who is and if this helps just one person then I’ll be happy.
In my speech I talked about what led me to go to university, my experiences there and the profound impact it had on my life, and continues to have on me. I was also asked to give some tips on how to make a success of your time at university, so I’ve listed them (plus a couple more) below:
Take advantage of everything offered to you, it’s the one time you’ll get so many free opportunities and the more experiences you have, the more ice-breakers/conversation starters/memorable moments you’ll have to share at interviews/assessment centres/group work that will make you stand out
Get good at managing your time effectively so you have time free to work/volunteer and have fun as well as study with less deadline stress
The harder you work in your first and second years, the easier your third year will be. Get your academic writing/references/research techniques under your belt at the beginning of your degree so you’re not worrying about it when the workload becomes heavier and that will really help
Relish the time you work in teams – it’s hard work but it’s a great skill to be good at. Presentations especially require so many skills that employers are desperate for, you should make the most of it to learn mediation, communication and planning techniques
Use the facilities that the university offers you, especially the wellbeing, financial and academic support; it is there for a reason and you’re not doing anything wrong by asking for help when you need it
Try and find relevant volunteering/work/placements but remember that as long as you’re working or volunteering (or both), you’re gaining valuable transferable skills – you just need to recognise them. They are the important skills that will get you noticed at work and count towards promotions and will be vital to help you change careers later in life if you want to
Finally, remember that university isn’t the only time in your life to have fun and do crazy stuff with friends so get your priorities right. Study hard, work hard and have a good time but don’t worry that life after graduation is all downhill from there, it’s just the start of the next adventure…
Follow Impact Recruitment for new jobs and careers advice and connect with me on LinkedIn, I’m happy to give advice on how to make the most of your degree and how to improve your employability.