Things I wish I did before 3rd Year
Kevin Yu reflects on what he would advise his first and second year self to do
Having come back from a 10-hour library session for the sixth day in a row, I finally get time to start writing a letter to my younger self. Third year has been a year of ‘firsts’ for me. From representing JP Morgan in front of 400 fresh-faced first years at the Forum Auditorium, to asking Deborah Meaden why she is the best dragon in Newman Blue, I feel that I have developed myself substantially, on both a personal and professional level, over the space of just 5 weeks.
And yet I could’ve done more.
Whilst I’ve been lucky enough to have had fantastic experiences and made life-long friends during first and second year, I still felt that I didn’t make the most of my time at university during those years. Therefore, I have listed the five most pertinent regrets that I hold, and the advice that I would like to share with both current and prospective university students.
Identify strengths, weaknesses and aspirations
Although this may sound like prep for a HireVue video interview, periodically evaluating both your personal and professional ambitions, and the progress that you are making to achieve them, can massively improve your approach, not only towards academic studies and job applications, but also at becoming a better human being.
Use the university Career Zone
Having to attend “eXfactor “ from 9 – 4pm on the first day of first year, was far from the ‘fun’ uni experience I had in mind; I couldn’t wait to get out of the classroom once it was over.
But little did I know, that in my final year, I would be religiously scouring the university Career zone page every hour, looking for the next employer presentation or internship to pop up.
Whilst, for me, first year is all about settling into your new surroundings and making new friends, it is never too early or late to start looking at the fantastic opportunities that the Career Zone offers, such as networking events and mock interviews, to help you climb onto that graduate job ladder once uni is over.
Work smart, but not too hard
Whilst you may have slogged it out on your assignment for the whole afternoon, a lack of purpose and focus will result in those long hours going to waste. Therefore, setting weekly, daily and even hourly work targets, as well as switching off your phone and social media, could significantly increase productivity levels, and subsequently decrease expenditure on coffee and meal deals.
(Admittedly, as shown by the first sentence of this article, I have yet to heed this advice…)
Know your limits
Everyone loves a night out now and again but having one too many could lead to a range of physical and emotional consequences, not only for yourself, but also for your peers. Having been on some colossal benders, especially within the first year and a half of uni, I can safely say that it is not a fun experience the morning after, having to apologize to various people with a raging headache and chronic nausea.
Take care of mind, body and soul
It’s great that society, especially our generation, is developing an awareness and understanding on mental health. However, a healthy mind cannot be achieved without good physical and spiritual health.
So, it is vital that you eat and drink healthily, get enough sleep and have some downtime every day. Although this seems like the sort of stuff that your mum constantly rambles on about, it could literally be a lifesaver.
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