Making the Most of University
University student: “I can’t wait to finish Uni.”
University graduate: “I miss Uni.”
They say you don’t know what you had until it’s gone. University is no exception. Don’t wait until it’s too late to realise the extent of what can universities offer. University is that sweet-spot between childhood and adulthood, where your freedom to responsibilities ratio is still high and you are finally old enough to actually appreciate it.
Here are a few handy tips to get the ball rolling and have you making the most out of your university experience.
You’ve just finished high school, 12 years of schooling completed, and your reward… more study! For many university is seen as a hinderance to their personal life, simply a necessary obstacle to overcome before starting their professional career. It is tempting for students to adopt a “get-in-get-out” attitude, with the goal being to spend as little time as possible at University on a daily basis. Arriving just in time for class and racing home moments after the final lecture slide.
However, rather than thinking of university as an obstacle, by embracing it into your social life your experience in both can improve dramatically. But the benefits go beyond even that. Sure, your academic studies are a requirement for you to be considered for certain jobs, however, recruiters are critically interested in your experiences and the skills and abilities that you displayed. It is very hard to address situational interview questions when your only “situation” is listening to your professor.
University offers excellent opportunities for extra-curricular activities that can blend seamlessly into your academic commitments.
This is the obvious one that people usually associate with the term “extra-curricular”. Of course you’re passionate about whatever you chose to study, but it’s unlikely to be your only passion. Universities house a diverse range of clubs which can be academic, faith-based, sporting, or special interest. It can serve as the key to unlock the social side of university by meeting new people and getting involved with some cool events.
But there’s a world of difference between “joining a club” and being “involved in a club”. University clubs don’t follow the same politics as companies or governments. Rising to a club committee position is often simply a matter of expressing your interest and involving yourself. The more involved you become, the greater your experience will be.
Can’t find a club that aligns with your passions? Perfect! Start your own!
Professional qualities: Teamwork, leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship.
As a university student you have the incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in a foreign culture whilst earning credit for your degree. You will meet people from all over the world and build an international network of friends. This can vastly improve your interpersonal skills and also come in handy if you want to save some accommodation fares on your next Eurotrip.
Note that there are typically conditions that must be met to qualify for exchange, these are usually related to your current academic progress.
Professional qualities: Adaptability, interpersonal skills.
It is common for universities to employ students to conduct tutorials and laboratories. Sessional academics are often post-graduate students, but not exclusively. There are two main ways to become a sessional academic: 1) Get approached by your faculty, 2) Approach your faculty. If you are approached by your faculty it is likely due to a recent opening for a position in a unit in which you showed an obvious aptitude. However, unit coordinators can have many students and are not vigilant to the abilities of all of them, if you are not approached by your faculty it should not deter you from contacting the unit coordinator and expressing your interest in teaching that unit.
It can be an enriching experience to pass on your expertise to younger students having previously grappled with the difficult concepts yourself and perhaps even engaged in external research. Previous students know better than anyone the most challenging and most important aspects of a unit, herein lies your greatest weapon in performing as an exceptional sessional academic.
Professional qualities: Verbal communication.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. By actively seeking opportunities you can discover many ways to become more involved at university. This can greatly enhance your university experience making it more enjoyable whilst also arming you with skills and experience to benefit your future job prospects.