Preparing to fly the nest and head off to university this September? Or enjoying your last few weeks of vacation before returning? Either way, it is important to make your time at university count.
You will be there for a relatively short amount of time, yet you will have opportunities that you will never get the chance to experience again.
University is said to be the best years of your life, yet it is also important to put yourself in the best possible position for the competitive graduate job market you will be entering into when you leave.
So here is our guide to making the most of your time at university, for both your professional engineering and personal life.
1. Try new things
You will never have this much free time ever again – make the most of it. Don’t spend every evening at the bar; make sure you join at least one society.
Try a sport you have never tried before, take up a new hobby, or get involved with a play or fashion show. Employers don’t just want good grades, they want well-rounded candidates.
2. Build your CV
Although engineering graduates are very employable, recruiters want to see evidence that you possess the soft skills required to succeed at work. The best way to show this is to build up your CV as much as you can while at university.
If you’re part of a society or sports team, volunteer to be social secretary or treasurer. Do some voluntary work through your student union or become part of an organisation. This will look impressive on your CV, and will give you fuel for competency questions in interviews.
3. Work experience
The best way to make your CV shine is to do a good internship – or a few. Not only will it make you more employable, but it will also give you a taste of what working in a particular industry or company is like, so you can work out if it is what you want to do before committing to a graduate scheme.
Make the most of your university holidays: rarely in your life will you have three months off a year. Make sure you take the opportunity to travel, whether it’s inter-railing around Europe, backpacking through Asia or volunteering in Africa.
Volunteering abroad in particular is recommended – it will look incredible on your CV.
5. Research careers
There is nothing worse than graduating, and then realising you have absolutely no idea what you want to do next. So, while at university use your free time to research possible careers. Go to careers fairs, talk to people, and research different career paths.
Although you don’t need to have your entire working life mapped out in stone, it’s good to have an idea of which route you want to go down, and ideally to start working towards your goal before graduation.
6. Enjoy it
Although it’s important to work hard and put yourself in good stead for a future career, it’s also important to enjoy your time there.
Meet new people, make new friends, and have a wild night out once in a while. You’re only at university once, so make the most of it.