- Don’t just go because you think it’s what your parents want. Unless there is a specific career path you want to go down which you need a degree for (i.e. doctor), if your family love you, they will be proud of you no matter which road you go down to achieve your goals.
- Just because everyone else is, doesn’t mean you have to. The likelihood is, you won’t see very much of your friends from home at uni, especially if you’re on different courses. Don’t get me wrong, you keep in touch but sometimes you don’t see your home friends until you actually go home, you can still do this if you decide to work instead.
- Do your research. It may seem obvious but people seriously don’t do enough. Don’t just look on the university’s website, look on other webpages at the percentage of graduates who get a job. Speak to current students or people you know on the course, get a really varied review.
- Choose your course for the right reason. Unless you have a specific route you want to go down such as a lawyer or doctor, don’t just do a random course. Its 3 years of your life wasted if you decide it isn’t really what you want to do, then you have to think about what you want and if that means another three years at uni, it’s setting you back quite a bit.
- Don’t feel like you have to go out. If you’re not a party animal, it’s okay!! Yeah okay so maybe your flatmates will all be going out together but if they are nice people they’re not going to judge you or not speak to you for wanting to stay in.
- Food shopping will be expensive!! Plan your meals, do one shop a week rather than lots of little shops each day. Anything to save yourself a bit of money.
- Even though it ‘doesn’t count’ your first year is still important. You may think you know how to write an assignment, but nothing will prepare you for having to reference. In your first year, you learn how to write your assignments, learn how to research and where to find all the important stuff, it really does help you when it comes to the following two years.
- Get experience!! Summer internships, placement years, any experience you can get will give you an advantage over majority of the people on your course. Yeah you may have a degree, but without experience, its worth absolutely nothing!!! Especially in a business related degree.
- Network!!!! I cannot stress enough how important networking is. Everyone has heard the saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ and my god this is so true. Networking events are a great opportunity to meet people in the industry, have a chat with them, ask them all the questions under the sun, if they didn’t want to answer questions they wouldn’t have gone. At these events, you’re more likely to meet people who can offer you a summer internship or a little work to put on your CV, but if you don’t go, you’ll never know.
They’re not boring either, usually you get free food, sometimes a little goodie bag to take away, you just walk around the room chatting to people, but don’t just stick by your friends, move around, go alone, talk to anyone you can, be confident.
- Friends on your course are so important. Get a group of friends who are on the same wave length as you. People who put in the work, people who want to do well. They will be your group partners, your study group, your assistance when you’re struggling, and they will be friends for life.
I wish I…
- Was better with money in my first year. Some days I would force myself to nap because it was the only distraction from how hungry I was when I couldn’t afford food. In my second year, I planned my meals, I only bought what I needed and I used what I had rather than going to a local (expensive AF) shop to pick up a couple of things. My third year I moved home… saved even more money woohoo.
- Spoke to my parents properly before deciding to go. I was so worried that because both of my sisters went, they would be disappointed in me if I didn’t. Now I know that really wasn’t true but I wish I spoke to them before I applied and knew then.
- Went to more networking events. I only went to one or two but I was far too lazy and dependant on other people, if none of my friends were going, I wouldn’t go.
- Did some summer internship or work placement to get a little more experience behind me. I waited until the end of my second year to get some experience and I started looking far too late. Some places turned me down because I didn’t have any office experience, some turned me down because they already had someone for the role. I worked in an office because it gave me a little advantage but it doesn’t help me when it comes to my degree.
- I did hardly any research when it came to choosing my course. I just thought ‘oh that sounds good’ and picked it. I didn’t know what career opportunities were like, I didn’t know what kind of money I would be looking at making in the future, I didn’t know the chances of getting a job at the end of my degree (as it turns out, 72% of marketing graduates don’t get employed in the field… I know, rubbish right). If I had just done that little extra research, maybe I wouldn’t be in such a rut right now, maybe I would actually be looking forward to my future rather than being terrified about what’s to come in the following three months.
- Did more of a general course. If you really aren’t sure about what you want to do, don’t just choose something because it sounds good like I did. Do something more general like business management rather than marketing, that way, your job opportunities widen and you’ll have much better chances of getting work after. You’ll be able to narrow your focus as you go on but you’ll always have other areas to fall back on if you decide its not for you.
- In all honesty, I wish I didn’t go to university in the first place. I would be in the exact same position I am now, just maybe with a bit more money, if I’d done an apprenticeship, the only thing that would be different is I probably wouldn’t have met my boyfriend, but I’m sure we would have met in some other way.
All in all, University isn’t for everyone, but if you do it right, it can be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. Do your research, be confident and network as much as you can. The debt is nothing, some people never even pay it off. Just if you decide to go to university, make sure it’s for the right reasons, and not just for the partying.
Good luck in whatever you choose to do, and remember, your happiness is all anyone around you can ask for.
Lots of love