By Mia Casey
What you do at university, can help set you up for life. So outside of studying, making new friends and having new experiences, here are 7 things you should try to do before you graduate!
1. Embrace every opportunity to meet new people
Sometimes the thought of meeting new people can be, well, exhausting. Despite this, the people you meet while you’re at university may end up being some of the most influential people in your life – or your career. University gives you a great mix of personalities, skillsets and fields of study that you are unlikely to encounter again. Once you head into the workforce, it’s likely you’ll be working with pretty like-minded people, so making friendships and working alongside people studying other disciplines is a great way to establish an extensive network now that can really benefit you in the future. And besides, workplaces are shifting so constantly nowadays that you never know how having connections in other industries may work to your benefit.
2. Take on extracurricular activities
While balancing work and a social life with uni commitments can seem a bit intense at times, it’s important to keep up with any extracurricular activities. Playing a sport, joining a book club or going to interest-related events help you to nurture your passions, and establish a routine that can be really helpful later in life. It also helps you develop a well-rounded work-life balance, and build on skills you may not be working on in other areas of your life (such as team-building, organisation skills, or emotional intelligence).
3. Undertake practical employment experience
One of the most important things you can do while at university, is gain practical employment experience. I know, I know – you’ve been told over and over again how important an internship is, but it’s true. People wouldn’t be saying it so often if it wasn’t! The work you do during an internship, or industry-relevant job, can teach you so many important skills that just can’t be taught in a classroom.
A lot of employment opportunities now require a range of skills from their candidates – skills that may not be specific to a particular degree or discipline. By undertaking some practical experience while you’re studying, you’re basically ensuring that you’ve got the skills needed to pave a clear path towards a successful career. It can also give you a different perspective on what you’re studying, and help you narrow down what you actually want to do for a career, if you’re still a bit unsure.
4. Work to a schedule
Sticking to a schedule can be tough – especially for us uni students who have to factor in assignments, group projects, and timetable changes every session. Still, it’s important that you learn to work to a schedule now, so that you know how to prioritise and manage your work when you’re in the workplace. Not only that, a schedule lets you set aside time to work on side projects, binge-watch your favourite shows, hang out with your mates, and keep up with any extra-curricular activities you’ve got going on.
5. Actually stick to your goals
While setting goals can be pretty easy, sticking to them is a whole other ball game. Uni is often a great time to train yourself to stick to the goals you set, as you’ve got more flexibility with your time than full time work would allow, and many students are still living at home so you can take more risks! See what works for you – what sacrifices do you need to make to ensure your goals are met? What goals can you prioritise over others? What works and what doesn’t? Uni’s a great period to figure it all out. And, in addition, uni often means a shifting timetable, casual or part time work, and a more active social life – learning to balance your goals with shifting priorities is a fantastic way to strengthen your skills and set yourself up for some awesome goal achievements further down the line.
6. Keep in touch
It’s easy to fall out of touch with friends – maybe you don’t have classes together this year, or your high school friends are getting jobs and don’t have as much time to hang out anymore. However, it’s important to value the healthy relationships in your life and don’t let them fade! Your friends are your support system, and each person brings their own perspective, skills and advice to your friendship. Holding on to people (even if it’s slightly inconvenient to do so) who make you happy and can help you grow is a great skill to develop now. Think of how many connections and friendships you’ll let go of later on in life when family and work commitments are even more pressing! So solidify this skill while you’re still studying, and you’ll be amazed by how many people are there to help when the going gets tough.
7. Learn to budget
We’re all guilty of spending above our means from time to time, but learning how to budget when you’re at uni is kind of really important. Not only will it mean you can save money (which a lot of us millennials need –that smashed avo isn’t going to pay for itself!), but it also helps strengthen your self-control and ability to prioritise some tasks over others. It can also be really helpful when you go into the workforce because it can help you understand what sort of salary you need to live comfortably (check out our post on how to negotiate salary to learn more) which is important when you’re looking for potential jobs.
So if you’re at uni, it’s important to start thinking ahead – graduation will rock up sooner than you think! Try working on any of these skills, and think about what other areas of your life may be holding you back!
Featured image courtesy of Pexels.