Many people study at university to avoid life’s responsibilities. Parties and lie-ins are preferred over the dreaded 9-5 lifestyle, which is hardly surprising as to why people jump at the chance to choose a degree. It’s simply a cultural norm in modern day Britain. Otherwise, a lot of people choose degrees to kick-start their desired career or to get the skills required for it.
University life, however, should not just result in a degree.
Most students will study in cities. Cities have infinite student jobs which range from part-time to flexible hours. It also shouts opportunities. Many student’s contact hours are under 15 hours per week which gives opportunities to find work. This is the chance for students to find jobs relevant to the path they wish to pursue following their degree. Experience in hospitality, catering or barista-work will not only look relevant but impressive to employers if you’re interested in pursuing restaurant-work related careers for example. Your maintenance loan will likely support you for the short term while you search for jobs relevant to your interests and aspirations; not just jobs with the aim of making money.
While ambitious, if you were to do an internship each summer for three years, the end result would look extremely impressive. For those especially in second year onwards, this can be a huge opportunity given that rent-leases tend to last twelve months. Exams tend to finish between May and June. So, that leaves at least three months on average before university starts again. Try to avoid internships that don’t pay and require full-time, or, if given the opportunity, ask for full-time pay.
University isn't simply about being academic. There’s a reason why universities boast many student unions and societies. By helping societies that you believe will be useful and relevant to your career path, you will not only make friends but be able to show your enthusiasm to explore your hobbies and make them suited to a career. This can range from helping with social media, organizing events, or becoming a treasurer, responsibilities that can easily highlight independence, initiative, leadership and teamwork.
Otherwise, what about volunteering? Volunteering two hours a week will not only show your capability to help the community and devote your free time to help others but it should not also disturb your workload. You could write articles voluntarily for student websites if you wanted a career in journalism or do tutoring if you wanted a career in teaching. While volunteering doesn’t pay in cash, it pays in many other ways.
All the points above would undoubtedly result in a better, improved you. Despite being a full-time student you can show to employers your capability to handle work and leisure appropriately, work hard and pursue your interests independently. You’ll have an advantage over the majority of graduates as they begin to explore their own career paths. You will also have found new hobbies, met new people and perhaps discovered that the career you initially wanted now doesn't appeal you at all.
There’s nothing wrong with doing just a degree and enjoying it for what it is. Consider, however, that while tuition fees cost £9000 per year, try and use the time and the opportunities in your city to the best of your advantage as you may never live there again.
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