Congratulations, you’ve made it! After years of work, you’re at university hanging up your fairy lights, and acquainting yourself with kitchen utensils that you never even knew existed. For as long as you can remember, you’ve been consumed by the need to participate in as many extra-curricular activities as you can in order to nail your personal statement and guarantee your success.Now it’s time to to relax, for a week or two, at least. Soon you will begin again, packing your spare time with anything and everything which might enhance your job prospects as a graduate.
By opting to go to university, you’ve managed to get away with dodging the question of what you are going to do with your life. It will soon become apparent, however, that you will find it difficult to stumble upon your dream job post-graduation without having garnered some sort of CV enhancing accolades alongside your studies. If you don’t start son, you’ll be left behind as your peers snap up every society exec position and secure all the best internships. At least, that’s what you’ll be lead to believe.
If you’re confident in your plans for the future, then that’s amazing, but it’s not necessarily the end of the world if you haven’t a clue
At university, it’s painfully easy to compare yourself to other people, and that doesn’t stop at peering over a friend’s shoulder to see what mark they have been awarded, and grumbling because they didn’t put in half of the effort you did. You’ll meet a handful of people who have had their pathway mapped out since the dawn of time, and will come to uni already knowing which stalls they’re going to hit at the freshers’ fair. If you’re confident in your plans for the future, then that’s amazing, but it’s not necessarily the end of the world if you haven’t a clue.
The good news is that the ‘university experience’ is completely flexible. You are in complete control of your life, and its up to you to go hunting for activities which interest you and enhance your career prospects. At some point you will have been subjected to a highly unoriginal exercise called “is this a real university society?” The takeaway from this game is simple: whatever your hobby, there is a society for you at university. Likewise, there are plenty of opportunities to try new things, or just take the free pens from the freshers’ fair and mark the emails as spam for the rest of the year.
Rest assured, there are plenty of other opportunities, such as part-time work and voluntary positions, which may look just as good on your CV
Within a few weeks, you’ll be told that societies will not be the linchpin of your CV, unless of course you are elected onto the exec. It is probably safe to say that no employer is going to be swayed by the fact that you attended Film Club twice a week for three years unless you learned something about marketing or leadership in the process. Around Christmas, people will begin to utter the dreaded “I” and no matter what your aim in life is, you will have at least one panicked Google search to see if there are internships out there for you. You may find something, but likewise you may come to the conclusion that you want to stay at university and avoid the ‘world of work’ completely. Rest assured, there are plenty of other opportunities, such as part-time work and voluntary positions, which may look just as good on your CV.
Just like life, university can be unpredictable and varied. As long as you make the most of the opportunities available to students, you’re ‘doing it right’. If you don’t know what you want to do with your degree, it’s not the end of the world, just engage with activities you enjoy and you’ll be able to crowbar them into your CV somehow, however irrelevant they may seem on the surface.