I’ll get all the clichés out the way. It’s the ‘best three years of your life’, ‘time will fly by’, ‘you’ll miss student discount’, and ‘you’ll meet friends for life’. All are true for me – especially the student discount one. I swapped Urban Outfitters for Primark two weeks after graduation.
As I’ve finished my degree in one piece, I thought I’d throw some tips at you!
Societies can seem intimidating, but once you’re in, you have such a good time. Break out of your comfort zone and go try some new things while you can, because when you get a job it becomes a whole lot harder.
I met most of my friends by joining the Manchester Media Group, which is the student radio station, YouTube channel, and newspaper. Maybe that sounds incredibly boring to some people, but that’s the wonder of societies – there’s so many to choose from so something will be interesting to you!
Experience from societies gives you that edge in a job interview. Loads of people will have done your degree, but no one will have the exact same university experience as you. I gained experience in writing, filming, editing, and creating graphics, which helps me do my job now! Plus I got loads of free theatre tickets for reviews, so it had other perks..
Find the hiding spots in the library
Properly explore the library because when exam-time comes round, you will want the quiet spots. Every year the quiet spots change because people begin to find out about the old quiet spots and move there – leaving the loud spots to become quiet spots… it’s all very complicated. So go on an exploration and find the hidden dungeon with the three-headed dog. Just be careful, you don’t want to get killed. Or worse – expelled.
Take every opportunity
Like a distant uncle at a wedding buffet, grab everything you can. Keep your eyes peeled for different opportunities by following university sites on Facebook and Twitter. My two favourite university moments were travelling in China for a month, and travelling to New York for a week – both happened because I kept my eye on social media and applied to everything I found!
I went to China as part of the ‘Study China’ programme (you can too!) and met loads of incredible people, and learned about a different culture. China always comes up in job interviews, and I have different answers to questions about problem solving, leaving my comfort zone, and climbing big ancient walls.
I travelled to New York (hence the fancy picture at the top), as part of the Global Graduates initiative by the Careers Service, networking with some very impressive alumni of the university (expenses paid, I may add). I’d recommend it to anyone, so check out bit.ly/GlobalGrads
On the theme of grabbing everything you can – I also undertook an internship with the university during second year which gave me great experience of working life. I also travelled to Rome – as my course offered the opportunity – and had a Manchester Gold mentor who helped me apply for jobs. Keep your eyes peeled for this kind of stuff throughout the year.
And go watch some gigs and comedy whilst here – it took me ages to realise Manchester’s got some great little places for gigs.