University summer breaks can be months long, a blessing in many ways but also a curse if you are studying something that you are passionate about or pursuing your dream career. Taking so long ‘out of the game’ if you are studying a subject where placements etc stop over summer can be incredibly difficult to deal with and can even leave you feeling like you have taken a step back when you return. This might also be true if you are about to start university in September and now have months of nothing after spending a year or maybe more applying and preparing.
So, how can you combat this and stay connected to your subject between years or before starting your course?
Set a reading goal – whether it’s an hour a week or an hour a day, carve out some time to continue reading around your subject.
Find a relevant volunteering role – this could even be online, perhaps a Facebook group linked to your subject requires new moderators?
Start building your contacts – use this time to set up an excellent LinkedIn profile and reach out to some relevant industry professionals or research how people in aspirational positions within your industry got to where they are today.
Research next steps – order some brochures for further postgraduate study, research potential future companies or job profiles, pick out some relevant CPD opportunities for the future…there are so many ways that you can be creating a plan for your future, even if that future is 3+ years away!
Don’t worry about disconnecting from your passion, use this time to explore all the other ways in which you can be growing and learning!
Something that has been on my mind a lot at the minute is what am I going to do once I have graduated?
For me, I think I will be attending a different university to do a Masters degree as it is closer to where I am from but I will be so sad to be leaving Edge Hill!
Its so important to remember that we don’t need to figure out a definite plan just yet. There are so many options available to graduates from internships, postgraduate courses, scholarships as well as so many graduate schemes. Even if you don’t have job lined up straight after graduation there’s no pressure, you could even get a job just to pay the bills whilst you figure out what you would like to do!
Edge Hill offers lots of postgraduate courses which you can see below:
These include, postgraduate certificates and diplomas as well as Masters and Phd degrees!
A really useful tip I have found is the website prospects! It is so brilliant for helping to find graduate jobs as well as providing lots of advice for graduates. You could also find a job profile for a role that you find appealing and it will tell you about entry requirements, salarys, daily tasks and how you could progress within certain roles.
The best thing to do as well is their career quiz in which you answer a series of questions based on your interests and what you are good at! It identifies jobs that match your personality so it is really useful!
This week I went to yet another postgraduate open evening (which was slightly far away but it was manageable), so I figured this week I’ll post about my experiences of them thus far…
When it comes to finding the right postgraduate course, I guess the first place to start is the internet, as well as recommendations.
I made the terrible mistake during my further education years of not going to open days of Universities (other than Edge Hill) before actually applying – There was me immaturely thinking that all Unis are the same, and all courses are the same etc., so it didn’t really matter what I applied for! I was very wrong. As I went to Applicant Visit Days after applying, I recall being utterly shocked at how different the Uni Courses I applied for are in real life compared to on paper (prospectus, online info and all that), and not in a good way 🙁 I’m not making THAT mistake again! Henceforth, if I find a Uni for postgraduate study online, I will check them out at Open Days / Evenings as (cliche alert) it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Applications for the courses I’m looking at start in November so I’m well ahead of the game I suppose. So far feelings from the three Postgrad Evenings I visited have created mixed feelings – Just helps me weigh up which options to put first and last (I think you’re allowed three choices for Postgrad study, not five like Undergrad), and hopefully I can visit some more before applications open.
Uni A is one that I am very familiar with, is in a good location, received acclaim for the courses they offer, and I like the environment – Although the course they offer is only kind of what I’m after. Uni B was not amazing… The environment felt like a prison (lots of white walls, seemingly heavy emphasis on “structure” not “independence”), but the location is good. Uni C is the most amazing – Great location, great environment and they offer a course which is exactly what I’m looking for, although the costs of living there are slightly high…
Decisions, decisions, decisions… I’ll visit a couple more before November and hopefully I can find one with very, very few flaws. I already have an idea of what choice is primary or not of course, but who knows, those plans may change in time. No regrets here in making all those long journeys!