Whilst many of you starting university won’t have your future career in the forefront of your mind, savvy students will realise that getting a job isn’t just about good grades; it is about making the most of the extra-curricular activities on offer. Whilst employers won’t look unfavorably at those awarded a 1st class degree, it won’t necessarily do the individual any benefit if they have nothing to talk about at their interviews other than how hard they studied.
Your time at university offers you the opportunity to get involved in societies, clubs, sports, the students union and other activities which you may otherwise not have the chance to participate in. With so many on offer deciding which to get involved in can be quite a challenge.
I have vague recollections of the freshers’ fair at the University of Hull – all those years ago. There was so much on offer but I had no idea where to start. I eventually joined the rowing club as a cox and enjoyed the next 3 years coxing for the men’s A team. What’s not to love!
It wasn’t until the second term that I joined AIESEC, an international business society; this was to become my real university passion. As well as making fantastic friends, it provided me with business skills training thanks to the blue-chip sponsors, work experience opportunities and the opportunity to travel abroad. I ultimately went on to become President of AIESEC Hull – a fact I am still hugely proud of. But that wasn’t all, in addition to coxing and AIESEC I also got involved in organising our Hall’s Summer Ball, RAG week and played the flute in a stage band.
And thank goodness I did.
I clearly remember my first round interview with M&S, whose graduate management scheme I went on to join, and being questioned about teamwork, organising skills and drive. If I had only concentrated on my course, I wouldn’t have had much to talk about.
For many, university is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Make the most of it. Try what’s on offer. Get involved in things you never thought you would. Not only will you have fun, make lifelong friends and learn new skills; it will make you a much more interesting person. The sort of person that employers will be fighting over in a few years time.
Make sure you…
Expose yourself to all aspects of university life
Try things you haven’t tried before
Aim to put yourself in a position of responsibility or authority
Take advantage of work experience programmes
Take every opportunity you can; it will help you find what you want for the future.