A few weeks into the final year of uni and there is a different buzz about the place. The lectures feel more important and everybody is engaging more with the seminars.
As we are getting closer to graduation and leaving uni, everybody is using the resources that we should have done in our first year. Only now do I find myself emailing lecturers and asking to meet up with them to pick their brains on ideas. Now that I’ve been doing this for a few weeks, I really wish I had been doing it for longer.
Only this week I’ve been able to get 3 different perspectives on my dissertation topic from their respective areas, each of which hold different perspectives and are challenging my current methodology. With very little effort, I’ve been able to build up new ideas on a dissertation and from some conversations, potentially there are new opportunities opening themselves up too. Now I am entering my last year, looking at my employability and credentials is a very real task and can’t be neglected any further as in less than a year the safety net which everybody relies on is being pulled out. Meaning those who aren’t prepared for the world of employment and finding a career are going to be the ones who struggle. The preparation for this should have started a few years ago, and though for most it has, its only now that everybody is proactive and seeking out tasks for CV boosters.
This week has been a really productive one for me in regards to this. Having had a few meetings and talks with lecturers and some industry experts, I have a few options lined up over the next few months. The one I am most looking forward to is being able to conduct two lectures; something I’ve wanted to do for quite a long time. These opportunities have come from a half hour chat with an old lecturer of mine and simply asking what I could do.Its acts like this that remind me I have developed and matured over my time at university. I am far more proactive now and looking for something for the future all the time.
Earlier today I was told ‘the big difference between people is who wants to work and who wants to do something great’. I liked this phrase because at this stage of my career, its very difficult to distinguish me from my peers on our CVs or our experience; most are working at a 2:1 minimum and most have some form of relevant experience that will help them post-grad. The divides in degree qualifications is so wide to the extent where those who sit at the back of the lecture theatre and chat often have very similar grades or could be working at a higher level than those who sit at the front and stay focused. Despite this, the big difference I’ve noticed is the factor that splits these two groups is the pride they hold in their work and their willingness to go the extra mile. Essentially, if they’re trying to complete the assignment or trying to create something great. These commitments are the characteristics that firms want and yet they’re hard to find when everybody’s CVs have no real distinction between them.
Because of this, I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about my own skills and employability. Working on improving my CV, cover letter and my skills hopefully will be the key to getting me noticed, so far I’ve applied to 4 post-grad jobs and have been invited to the next stage for 3 (so far). Though I’m happy with the start, I’m still a long way away from the role being mine and its the complacency which made me miss out on a placement last year. As I’ve mentioned in my previous entrances, I’ve learnt my lesson from that and won’t be making it again. My credentials can only improve and I’m determined to keep moving forward both professionally and in Academia. I have a lot of aims and goals in my career and a lot of them I can start working towards now, so thats exactly what I’m doing.
This year the pressure is mounting and expecting students to start dropping off the sides as it gets too tough. But I learnt too well from my failure last year and it has only made me more determined to continue to look forward and move through the pressure.