How to succeed in your studies: that question many students ask themselves at this time of year, some having just finished exams, some conscious that their university studies are flying by at a rapid rate of knots. Both however are conscious that they don’t have a lot of time left to set themselves apart from the competition.
So how do you set yourself apart? Try following these five simple tips:
You’d be surprised at what you can pick up by listening to what’s being said both at lectures/seminars and online. Often the best gobbets of information can’t be accessed by glancing at lecture slides on a Virtual Learning Environment (no matter how much you want that to be true first thing on a Monday morning). Be it quotes and statistics to use in assignments or comments on trends in the industry seen on twitter, be aware of what’s being said – it could be the difference between a 1st and a 2:1 or even secure you a placement at interview.
Seize Every Opportunity
There are so many things you can be doing to make yourself more employable whilst studying for your degree. You don’t want to look back and say, ‘I really should have done that’ – do it now when you’ve got the time. At the end of the day when you graduate you’ll be competing for jobs with not only your course mates, but the graduates from PR degrees across the country as well as many more strong applicants with different backgrounds. Good, relevant experience will probably get you an interview but you certainly won’t be alone in getting to that stage in the job hunt. Think about volunteering, part-time work, standing for a position at the students union, joining a society, attending guest lectures and pursuing interests – anything that will make you stand out will improve your prospects.
If one of your coursemates asks for your help, try to make an effort – the time may come when you’d like their help with something and frankly if you couldn’t be bothered to help them, why should they you? In doing this you’ll probably learn more about the subject in question than you knew to begin with, and in explaining it to someone else you need to understand it and be able to communicate it in terms that they will understand. You’ll learn how to work together in a small team and ten years down the line they might remember you as a helpful, intelligent sort and recommend you for a job.
No, not in an arrogant, look at me, look what I did way, but if you’re doing something interesting make sure people are aware of it – just don’t wave it in their face all the time. Think of it as PR-ing yourself. Network, both online and in person, attend events and talk to people about what you’re doing. Passionate about fashion, music, sport? Why not write about that – when a potential employer Google’s your name (and they will), if a really well written blog pops up you’re off to a flying start. If you go back to your old school to talk to students about PR careers and your degree why not ask the school if you can write and distribute a news release about it – that’s one strong portfolio piece in the bag and getting your name out there at the same time.
Find A Good Work-Life Balance
The first four points here may seem a bit nagging, and to be honest that is partly intended. Both your course and your university have a lot to offer and some people don’t making the best use of their time there. Having said that, university, like the world of work is all about finding a good balance – It is possible to do all of these things and still have a life, but at the same time you’re young, free from major responsibilities and probably just want to have fun. Work hard, play hard as the saying goes, but preferably in that order.