When you’re drowning in a sea of dissertation research at 4am, it’s easy to feel like university is the last place you want to be. While it can be tough at times, especially when exams and deadline dates are looming, there are many activities you can indulge in to make student life more rewarding.
A bright future
There’s no denying that the financial cost of studying is pretty steep these days, with many universities charging the maximum £9,000 a year. But did you know that as a graduate you are statistically more likely to be earning more than those who didn’t go to uni?
In April last year, the government published their 2015/2016 which showed that “graduates and postgraduates had higher employment rates, with a greater proportion in high-skilled employment, lower unemployment rates, lower inactivity rates and higher median salaries than non-graduates.” The future for graduates is a bright one.
Long and lazy holidays
Unless you make your millions and retire early, chances are that you’ll be on the career ladder for a good few years. If you’re working 5 days a week, you’ll get around 28 days a year paid holiday. That’s less than the length of your annual summer holiday as a student. Whatever you decide to do with your long student holidays, enjoy every second of them.
Travel on the cheap
With the unwelcome news that , take heart that as a student you’re eligible for a discount. Take advantage of the 18+ Oyster card which gives you 30% off travel in and around London. The is another great money saver and costs just £30 a year for a 1/3 off rail travel. Over 25? Fear not, as anyone who’s in full time education can apply for the 16-25 Rail Card.
Many universities offer incentives for studying with them. While it may not be a deal breaker when choosing a place to study, a free laptop or a generous text book allowance can save you a big chunk of your student loan. Heading to your uni’s freshers fairs are also a fun way of snapping up some free goodies.
Once you leave uni and start to job hunt, having a degree could open doors for you. There are numerous jobs specifically aimed at graduates, many with generous starting salaries.
The graduate recruitment industry is a booming one, so whatever industry you’re planning to go into, there’ll be an opportunity that suits your aspirations. Do some online research and perhaps think about signing up to a recruitment site that offers roles suited specifically to graduates.
Most major banks offer student and graduate bank accounts, and it’s a good idea to shop around to compare what incentives they have. MoneySavingExpert.com has . So, whether you want a free railcard or a 0% overdraft limit, there’s a bank account with your name on it!
Get skilled up
Most universities will have a dedicated careers advice centre where you can drop in to discuss your future prospects or get help drafting a professional CV. Your uni might also run careers guidance or training sessions to skill you up in the essentials such as presentations or networking.
It’s easily overlooked when you’re bogged down in coursework, but remember your aim at the end of this is to get a job, so the more well equipped you are, the better. Take all the free advice you can get!
Council tax perks
If not everyone in your home is a student you might still be eligible for a discount. Grab a student status letter from your uni, send it on to your local council tax office and make some serious savings.
Shop til you drop
There’s a whole host of businesses out there who wants a slice of student action and offers generous discounts. The National Union of Students (NUS) website is a great place to start. Their (for which you pay a small annual fee) will unlock a treasure trove of discounts and can be used in 130 countries worldwide. Student discount websites such as or are also worth a look.
If you’re out and about, you’ll be surprised at how many places offer a student discount, from shops and cinemas to restaurants and travel agents. You’ll need to show them proof of being a student - usually an NUS card or identity card from your uni.
Friends for life
Okay, it might sound a little corny, but the friends you make at uni are likely to be friends for life. Not only will you be mixing with people who share the same passions as you, but you’ll be spending 3 years experiencing the highs and the lows of uni life together.
University is also the perfect way to make your way out of your social and boost your social skills. You’ll come out of the other side a whole lot more confident, and with lasting friendships.
Emily Valentine writes for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency that specializes in sourcing candidates for internships and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London has to offer, visit their website.
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