You’ve gone through almost two decades of formal education, attended more classes than you have brain cells, and are eagerly awaiting the day you’ll never again have to passive-aggressively message Alice 17 times for her half of the Marketing 1001 group assignment. It’s your last year of university, and whether you have your sights set on full time work or taking a ‘travel-break’ before going into the big wide world, there are still some really important things you should take advantage of while you can. Here are four things you should be doing in your final year at uni.
Get as much out of your degree as possible
Being in your final year, it’s pretty clear the last thing you feel like doing is aiming for HDs. I mean why would you? It’s only a matter of months until you’ll be out of here, and the only thing on your mind is nailing down that full time job at the end, after a relaxing holiday up the coast. Whilst locking in placement and paid work is important in your final year, so is taking advantage of the vast knowledge still available to you on campus. Not only do your lecturers and tutors have a wealth of knowledge and experience behind them to help you get through your courses, they are actually real people (surprise!) who can give you professional advice to prepare you for the real world.
And before you roll your eyes and continue your six-hour The Crown binge, hear me out. This is essentially your last opportunity to reap all the benefits of formal schooling and living in the wonderfully protected bubble of university life. It’s the year to make mistakes, ask more questions, read more and gather up as much knowledge as possible before the real deal. This isn’t necessarily about getting perfect grades, it’s about jumping as deep as possible into your studies and absorbing as much as you can whilst you still have the support of academics, classmates and the myriad of university services available to you so you’ll feel totally prepared when you’re on your own.
Get to know the Careers and Student Development service and be job ready
The great thing about being at university are the student support services so readily available to you. A lot of people either don’t know these exist, aren’t sure how to organise consultations, or simply don’t feel it’s necessary to take advantage of them. Wrong! Making use of student, program and career advisors are easily some of the most beneficial things you can do in your last year of study to transition from university to work; especially for students who are unsure of what they’re planning to do after their degree.
Approaching the finish line can seem like a daunting task if you’ve left organising work experience and job applications to the last minute, but there’s no reason to panic, because you don’t have to do it alone! Just by attending a consultation with a University Careers Adviser, you could have a polished and job-ready résumé, a planned-out career path and even made several job applications within the space of a few days, all with the professional help of someone who really knows their stuff. Just visit the Career Hub page on the university website; here you can book a session, find out their drop-in times and access a whole bunch of job vacancies to apply for.
Student Progress Advisers are also not only great for first year students; they can really help you to get through the final hurdle if the work is getting a little too much for you. You can make a booking online, by emailing the Student Advice team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 49215000.
Work Experience, Work Experience, Work Experience!
There are compulsory placement courses for a lot of degrees; sometimes these are organised for you (lucky duck!), and other times you need to set this up on your own. If you find yourself in the latter category, the best advice is not to leave locking this in to the last minute. By making connections at careers expos and directly contacting companies now, not only are you beating the rush of other students competing for the same position, you’re showing an employer that you have both the initiative and eagerness to gain experience beyond your studies. This will leave you with a great first impression, and make them more inclined to consider you for any paid positions that come up later down the line. Outside of formal placement however, now is the most crucial time in which you can develop the skills you have learned through your degree, and the last opportunity to put these into practice before applying for full time jobs; so take on as much experience as possible!
Catch up with friends, take advantage of student discounts, get involved with clubs and go to university events! Now’s the last chance you have to really appreciate the university lifestyle for everything it is. It’s the last time you’ll see your friends every day through the week and socialise basically whenever you feel like it. Full time work has so many benefits like actually having money and doing something you love every day, but also make sure to enjoy the simple freedoms university life allows like sleeping until your 11am lecture, catching up with friends for a coffee between classes, and rocking tracksuit pants in the daylight hours of Wednesday.
Most importantly, even if you don’t have everything perfectly lined up by your final year at university, don’t freak out. This is your year to really take advantage of all the services, information and people who can help you make that transition from university to full-time work as seamless as possible. Organise your résumé, work experience and really get the most out of your studies in the coming months, but also remember to have fun and make the most of the end of an era, and an exciting new beginning.