What week two taught us

By Olivia Atkinson

As some of us enter third year, breaths are taken in, library spaces reserved, and summers are ruined over dissertation preparations. To all first and second years, this is your guide to survival in your final year. So far, the workload has certainly increased and library bins are littered with Starbucks coffee cups. My personal favourite? Caramel Macchiato – would highly recommend. I won’t deny it, Fresher’s week led us into a false sense of security and rekindled our romance with an immense number of VK’s, and then week two opened our eyes. The campus is finally starting to look less like a building site, but we’re all still getting used to the Windsor building being painted orange.

First and second years might not be as disturbed by the upcoming stresses of real life, but I urge you to double check your emails. As our campus visually gets a makeover, the careers centre has also moved to the Davison building, and are hosting many events already. Check out the micro-placement project aimed at helping second years gain an internship or work experience in the summer before third year.

If you’re a third year like me, perhaps in need of a rain check on careers, consider these options. Masters and employment seem to cloud our vision as the only possibilities after graduation. However, there are ample other options that demonstrate different and innovative ways to kick-start your next chapter. For example, taking a year out allows more time to decide where to go next, perhaps what course to study, and most importantly, increases finance, unless you’re a shopaholic, like me.

You will also find that companies commonly search for work experience in your CV, and without it, your degree can mean next to nothing. In this way, postgrads are cleverly cushioning the transition and easing the jump from the mirage of university into a nine to five reality by applying for internships post-uni.

When you do come head to head with the big cheese, it’s important to accept early on a simple fact. Starting salaries will more than usually be low. Don’t be disheartened. Climbing the metaphorical ladder into success, fortune and perhaps fame is not a quick process. Start thinking about what you’re interested in. Ditch the dreams and turn them into legitimate goals. Search for what you want on the internet. Sites such as: Graduatejobs.com, Linkedin.com and Targetjobs.com are extremely useful in getting that first leg up. Create a profile and see what responses you gather. After asking around, I found that most second and third years felt strongly that a legitimate plan with realistic goals provided comfort for the looming shadow umbrella term, ‘the future.’

Now, let’s live in the present for a moment. My first, (or third) impressions so far this year accumulate to: stay organised, manage your time and don’t say no to societies just because it’s third year. Try something new, join a team and don’t feel pressured to stick to what you know, you’ll have plenty of time to do that when you graduate into a monotonous job. Don’t say no to nights out, you’ll find it’s an easy way to see all those people you promised to stay in touch with. Plus, don’t forget to try the new red VKs.

Olivia Atkinson

Featured image courtesy of Royal Holloway

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