3 reasons I wish I'd got work experience while I was at university
Being an unemployed graduate with no reason to get out of bed in the morning has taken its toll on me lately.
I would generally say that I am, and always have been, realistic in my understanding of post-university life. I never for a second thought that I'd walk straight into my dream job just because I had a degree. In fact, I was pretty much certain that I would end up in the position I'm in now. But that's the thing with thinking about things - you can't understand how it feels until it actually happens.
While the majority of my uni pals have managed to nail down a job that is in some way relevant to what they want to do, the highlight of my week is taking my nan to Morrison's to do her shopping.
Don't get me wrong, I love my nan, but it's not exactly the "life in your 20's" I pictured when I was 15. Ahh the days spent dreaming of my exciting city life, with my fabulous job, swanky apartment and nights spent drinking champagne - But here I am. And apart from no longer having to stand outside the shop begging random people to buy vodka for me and my friends, I feel like my 15 year old self again.
Ultimately, this whole process could have been much easier if I hadn't solely used University as an opportunity to get drunk and fat.
My point here is work experience. Being proactive in getting it and making the most of your time while you're at uni is SO important, because you'll already have the experience behind you when you leave. And it'll set you apart from losers like me who haven't networked enough. It sounds like common sense and that's because it is. But it's so easy to keep procrastinating your way out of actually getting the experience, that you come to the end of 3 years with nothing.
3 reasons I wish I'd gotten work experience while I was at university:
1. It's easy to work for free when you're rent is paid with your student loan.
Getting a three month 'expenses paid' internship at uni would have been more exciting than getting all those free condoms from the SU in freshers week. (They're still unused, thank you very much). Now, when I actually want and need the experience, but also want and need money, it's not so practical.
2. Universities are usually well connected and will point you in the right direction.
And once you follow that direction, you're in - as long as you make a good impression. Network while you're there and you'll be well connected for post-university job opportunities.
3. The more of it you can get the better
Because most people don't leave uni wanting the same job as when they started. Only experience can really teach you that - mine came through a uni project in third year. But with lots of experience, it probably could have come earlier.
But hey, if you've managed to get any kind of job - I'm talking part-time in Gregg's, full-time drug dealing - anything, you're doing better than me. Truth is, if I'd gone about this whole "life" thing properly, I'd at least have some form of income at the minute. Then I'd be happily be applying for the jobs that are relevant to my career and saving money for travelling at the same time.
There's no perfect formula to any of this student / graduate / life in your 20's lark. To summarise this delicate stage of life, here's a recent conversation between two unemployed graduates:
"What time is it?"
"It doesn't matter"
No. It really doesn't matter. You have nothing to do, nowhere to be and no one to see, because everyone else has a job and a life.
I hope that realisation made you feel warm and fuzzy inside. It made me want to fling myself off a building.
If you've managed to leave university and enter the working world, congratulations. Cling on to it. Make the most of it. If it's an internship, get to know everyone, make sure they know what you want to do, and try and make them like you at the same time. If you've left university and you want to travel, just do it. Get down to Gregg's, sell some drugs, whatever it takes. Ok maybe not selling drugs, sell something else. Maybe some of the clothes that fit you before all those mince pies at Christmas.
Everyone procrastinates, everyone accidentally wastes time and at some point everyone feels like they're behind where they want to be in life, because it's so easily done. It's easy to get stuck in a routine that you never expected to have -it's easy to get stuck in a rut.
But there's no time like the present to stop binge watching Netflix and do something about it.
I should probably take my own advice.
...Maybe one more episode of Scrubs?
I need to get a job.
By Lucy Connor