Ok, so mention university and most people picture students falling out of pubs, lazing around watching daytime television and graduating with a lifetime full of debts. When you’re a Student, it’s all too easy to go out every night and spend all day sleeping off your hangover. Of course, it feels fantastic to have so much fun but have you ever stopped to think about how to get a little more out of University life?
When you take a minute to look around, there are so many opportunities both socially and academically. Let’s begin with the social activities. There are so many clubs and societies out there to join. It’s your chance to try something totally different that you may never have even thought about before. There’s tennis, football, juggling, dance, poker and yoga to name but a few. Give something you would never have even contemplated before a go! What’s the worst that can happen? If nothing else, you’ve met a new group of people and probably made at least a couple of friends along the way. You may even surprise yourself. Who knows – you might discover that you’re the next Heston Blumenthal, Frank Lampard or Gwyneth Paltrow along the way!
When I was at university, I really wanted to try something totally different and decided to write for the Student Newspaper. At first it felt a bit strange stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something I’d never tried before. Now I’ve caught the writing bug and have never looked back! Anyway, if you join a club and decide it isn’t for you, there’s an array of others out there to try. Like the saying goes, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!
Next, don’t forget to explore the new place you live in. It’s all too easy to get up, roll into lectures, go out drinking and repeat this the next day…and the one after that. Remember that you’re never too far away from big cities that will be great fun to go and see. Gather up a group of friends, jump on a train and find out about the surrounding areas. Don’t just stop at the big cities either. Don’t forget that there will be villages or small towns close to you that will be worth a visit. It’s always good to suss these out for when the Parents come to visit too. I found that mine were very impressed with this sort of local knowledge. One trip to a small village that I’d already been to and my Parents thought I was the best thing since sliced bread.
While you’re having all of this fun, ensure that you make as many friends as possible on the way too. If you’re living away from home, it can be easy to get homesick so make sure you surround yourself with fun mates. And remember that you won’t make friends sat indoors watching ‘Neighbours’ all day.
You can also make the most of University when it comes to your future career. When you’re not gallivanting off on day trips or attending your chosen club, remember that there will be a very useful career service that you can utilise. It’s your chance to use this time to think about what you would really love to do in the future and how you can get there. Take every opportunity that comes up – attend career fairs, recruitment days and talk to as many people as possible. You could also use your holidays to gain some all important work experience. I know the prospect probably sounds a bit boring now but any extra experience you have will pay dividends when it comes to getting a job in the real world. Don’t forget that more and more people go to university nowadays and anything extra that you can offer to future employers will make you shine.
My very last piece of advice is to get involved in the Student Union. It’s the happening place and it’s definitely about more than ‘just a place’ to go. Aswell as the social side, remember that there are also jobs available at the Student Union. Your employer is more likely to understand you don’t want to do every hour God sends because of your studying and it’s a bit of extra money in your pocket.
So, if you’re off to University in the next few weeks, make sure you have fun, study a little along the way and take every opportunity you can to find out exactly what it is you want for the future.
Written by Anna Vaccaro