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Maximising your time at university

You’ve probably heard the saying, you get out what you put in; sayings become clichés for a reason. Most students go through university with blinders on, unaware that they could be doing more than just their degree. Now don’t get me wrong, getting the qualification is important, that’s why you went to university to begin with; but there is more to life and to yourself than just that degree…and I’m not referring to just socialising. Being at university presents a wonderful opportunity to try out new things, explore more about yourself and even reinvent yourself (whatever that really means). So what am I really on about..?

Well, as you might know if you’ve read some of my other pieces, I am pursuing a degree in engineering, mechanical engineering to be specific. Being based in the North Campus of The University of Manchester means I’m usually away from ‘the action’, and being a postgraduate student means that I could easily stay ‘in my lane’ and just focus on my degree…but where’s the fun in that?

I have taken the opportunity of being at UoM to do things outside my discipline. I have participated in business competitions, joined a sports society, been a student VC (venture capitalist), attended classes at the MEC (Manchester Enterprise Centre) and have even become a student content ambassador (note this blog). These experiences have allowed me to meet interesting people from other disciplines and walks of life, which has added to my growth as a person.

Now, I’m not saying go out and do everything, but being at university is the ideal time to explore and do things you have always taken an interest in or have just been curious about. Have I convinced you yet? For instance, say you are a linguistics major but have always had an interest in forensics; guess what, there is a student union society for that…really. Or say you’re pursuing a degree in economical development but have an interest in graphic design or video editing; well, IT services offer free courses on such things.

If I still haven’t pulled you into the dark side of stepping outside your comfort zone, even just dipping a toe, here’s a list of what maximising your time in university could look like:

  • Joining a society – there are multiple, ranging from sports, hobbies, interest groups, etc.
  • Entering competitions – from business ideas to poetry competitions
  • Volunteering for a cause that speaks to you
  • Taking classes in another discipline. Check out UCIL!
  • Learning a new language

Maximising your time at university can take whatever form that works for you. The idea is to explore different facets of yourself and hopefully gain exposure, experience and skills that you can take forward in your personal life and those that can also assist you in your professional life. So, take those blinders off and go see what’s out there.

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