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Mix it up: Balancing your social life with your course work & boosting your work experience
Variety is the spice of life…
In a time when employers are looking for so much more than ‘just’ a degree, it’s important to get involved with as many extra-curricular activities as possible. This shows that you didn’t just sit around all day, attending the odd lecture and coming up with new drinking games. It also shows that you didn’t just bury your head in the books. After all, university is about so much more than expanding your mind academically; it’s about being a well-rounded, versatile individual.
You’ve got to mix things up to keep them fresh and exciting. This approach can be applied to pretty much every element of life, but without trying to pass off as a relationship counselloror master dietitian, let’s stick to advice on how to balance your university life.
OK, so how am I meant to balance everything university throws at me?
You may be wondering how on earth you could fit something else in on top of your workload, but if you plan ahead and stay organised, believe me, you’ll have enough time for absolutely anything.
So, what can you do outside of your university projects, dissertation work and further reading? The options are pretty endless. A good start would be to attend the Fresher’s Fair at the beginning of each year. You’ll have the opportunity to try out anything and join all kinds of societies; from sports teams to knitting groups and tea-appreciation societies. You’ll be surprised at the amount of variety on offer. Anything you do, will give you a great opportunity to meet new people and take on something that will offer an alternative to your studies.
If you find that there isn’t a team or society for something that you’re interested in, don’t be afraid to set one up. If you have enough people who are keen to get involved, then why not? It shows initiative and will look fantastic on your CV.
You’ll also find that joining a club will increase your social life no end. With various nights out, events and weekly gatherings or fixtures (for the sportier ones amongst you), there’s loads to keep you busy and take your mind off those looming deadlines.
A lot of students boost their work experience by getting involved in something that they’re already interested in. For example, if you want to be a journalist, get writing for the student paper. If you’re interested in music, start up a student band. It’s all valuable experience and will help you to combine your extra-curricular interests with your career development plans. What more could you want?
Sounds cool! Where does work fit into all of this?
It’s important to remember that work comes first, but that doesn’t necessarily have to mean locking yourself away in a dark room with just a pot of tea, a laptop, the latest Radiohead album and 284 textbooks for company.
Chat to the other people on your course and think about starting up a study group. This way, you’ll be mixing with other people, sharing ideas and getting some work done. It’s important to mix things up when studying. No student can be expected to stare at the same four walls all day without any form of human interaction. You’ll be surprised at how many people on your course will appreciate you setting up something like this. You could even have your first study group session at the pub. I don’t think anyone would begrudge you a pint after all the hard work you’ve been doing.