By Helen Green
As many university campuses slowly re-open or at least are now offering a blended learning model, it’s a great idea to take advantage of any opportunities on campus that will help you be ‘work ready’ and competitive when the time comes to graduate.
Think broadly, be curious and prepare to learn about yourself
University should be a time of self-discovery and growth. It is fine, indeed advantageous, to have multiple interests. Double degrees and broad-based undergraduate degrees allow you to explore interests and disciplines that interconnect in ways you may not have considered and to focus on areas suited to your strengths and interests. The increased offerings of graduate entry degrees help accommodate this.
Be curious beyond your course too. One of my clients commenced a science degree, passionate about biology. Whilst she enjoyed two years of studying biology, it was a chance elective from another faculty that prompted her to switch to a double degree in a discipline she previously had no interest in.
Brush up on your employability skills
Lifelong learning has never been more relevant. According to the Foundation for Young Australian’s New Work Order Report, you can expect to have five or six careers during your working life. Many jobs you will be working in have not been invented yet, especially in STEM sectors.
Work will be more interdisciplinary, requiring flexibility and resilience. Acquiring employability skills through study, work, volunteering, work integrated learning and life experience will matter more than
whether you identify as belonging to a specific occupation. These skills include communication, teamwork, critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, data analysis, resourcefulness, and resilience. Demonstrating these skills to prospective employers will really boost your chances in a competitive graduate market.
Know what study support and practical help is available
Aside from study and academic skills support, make sure you learn how to study effectively, write academically, reference appropriately and use research databases and IT resources. Much of this information is available through university learning management systems though if you can, go to the library, take a tour, and meet staff. This will help you perform at your best academically. Get to know your lecturers and tutors. They want you to do well and may be able to help you in ways you had not considered. Also, check out Student Services to find out about other supports available including accommodation help, careers advice, counselling, healthcare, childcare, financial assistance, disability support and IT.
Join a club
University is about far more than study and career readiness. After a year off campus, I am pleased to see students keen to join clubs and get involved in music, entertainment, and everything that campus life has to offer. I met some lifelong friends at university, some of whom were not in my faculty. Friendship aside, you may end up working with or for your fellow students at some point in your career, so keep this in mind.
The key to enjoying university – meet fabulous people and learn about yourself.
Helen Green is a qualified careers coach, writer, and professional member of the Career Development Association of Australia. She has over two decades’ experience working in senior education and career program management roles, particularly within the tertiary sector where she has assisted many students. She is Director of Career Confident in Melbourne.