There are certain words and phrases that, as university students, are designed to make our skin crawl:
9am lecture (even though we know that there’s a higher chance of finding a vacant booth in the Diamond than us actually going)
Assessed group project (because it’s that much harder, though not impossible, to complete this from the comfort of your own bed)
And as we enter this dreaded time of prolific procrastination, and if we’re lucky, actual, real, honest-to-god revision, we wave a sad goodbye to every other part of our lives that doesn’t actively correlate with us passing our degrees.
Money – that thing that has us crying with despair when we log onto our online banking. That thing that seems to disappear without our recollection after a few too many pitchers at Spoons. That thing that there is never enough of.
For most of us like minded individuals, we recognise university as the epitome of our young adult existence – the time when we explore our independence without the constraints of true, haunting adulthood that we all know will soon descend upon us. But whilst we enjoy all the fun that a university degree enables us to engage in, if we’re clever, we also recognise the very real opportunities it presents us with in terms of helping us towards achieving the very best of our aspirations and dream career goals.
Things I considered as important when I decided to go to university:
Getting a first class degree (we can all dream, right?)
Joining a society
Getting work experience/internships to bulk up my CV
Things I did not consider:
And why – I hear your enthusiastic cry – simply because it had never crossed my mind, at least not in an important way. There was a brief time at college where I considered volunteering at a local charity shop in order to increase my chance at getting into university, but it was only a fleeting thought, floating away as quickly as my chances at getting anything above a B in A-Level maths. But then I attended a ‘Put Your Degree to Work’ event for arts and humanities students in my first year and the thought circulated back once more. The idea came from past alumni who said that, after panicking in their second year that they didn’t know what to do after university, they signed up for some volunteering simply to add something to their CV. What they didn’t anticipate was falling in love with it and pursuing a career in the third sector after graduation. Continue reading →
When people ask me what degree I’m studying, it’s pretty certain that I’m going to be met with the same reaction: ‘Oh, so you want to be a teacher?’ My response? God, no. Even as I clicked that button on UCAS launching my application to study English Literature with no concept whatsoever of what I was going to be when I grew up, I knew without a doubt that teaching was not the career for me. So what did this mean? If I wasn’t going to be a teacher, what was I actually going to do?
We all dangle that same line when people ask why we took the plunge into thousands of pounds worth of debt and decided go to university; there are some variations, but it generally goes along the lines of ‘increasing employability’, ‘enhancing skills’ and, most importantly, ‘to earn more money when I graduate’. There’s also the less used reasoning of ‘I want to go out every night’ and ‘I want to put off adult-ing for as long as possible’. Because there’s no denying it; student life is the guilt-free, lack of responsibility life that we all cling to down to our last pinky finger. Who would want to give up the discounts, the social life, or even the endless lie-ins? But it’s only too easy to forget the harbinger of doom that surfaces every now and again within our conscious minds, before delving back into the space in our brains reserved for forgotten assignments and unfinished lecture notes.