I have said it before and I’ll no doubt say it until the day I graduate. I hate university. Coursework is the devil’s work, the novelty wore off of having independence, and I am so so tired of being a ridiculously poor student. I haven’t had the best of luck with housemates and, well, despite what my grades may say, I have no idea what is going on. From the outside it may look like I have my sh*t together but, in reality, university has not been an enjoyable experience for me, unlike the many people who have told me that it is ‘the best time of their lives’.
The amount of times I have considered dropping out over the past four years is far more than I’d care to tell you. While university has not been the right learning environment for me, I have taken advantage of all the opportunities that have been made available. I use university as a ‘skills workshop’ of sorts, and rather than relying on good grades to secure me a job, which is simply not enough anymore, I made sure that I gained as much experience as possible. All of the paid and unpaid roles have taught me so much more than university itself, as well as given me insights into the things I want as well as the things that I don’t want to do, something that is perhaps more valuable to know.
Over the past four years, I have volunteered as a welcome helper, been president of the university’s food society, organised charity fundraising events, volunteered as an Independent Custody Visitor as well as volunteered for the project ThinkNation. I have also represented the university in various ways, been a student ambassador for a graduate recruitment company, worked at the oldest school in the country as front of house staff, as well as be a sales executive for Hello Fresh. I have taken on mentoring roles, conducted work experience at BBC Good Food Magazine and also organised ‘supper-clubs’ for a local NGO.
Without meaning to show off, I mention all the above roles because the importance of gaining experience, paid or not, is something that I cannot stress enough. Not only does it look impressive on your CV, but it allows you to have an insight into a field before actually committing to a career in it. It is always better to find out prior to landing your ‘dream job’ that you hate it, and if you do find something that you dislike, or are no good at, its better to find out sooner rather than later. Nowadays it is essential to be proactive, so start networking with companies, applying for placements or make speculative applications and that will put you in good stead for future you, trust me.
Take control and know that sometimes the experiences you gain are far more important than that piece of paper you get at the end.
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