Here comes the sun

The summer is still in full swing! Second year student Nozomi takes us through her top tips on making the most of the rest of the summer…

Summer Ball has come and gone and you’ve said your ‘see you laters’ to your flatmates and coursemates. You may have even already gone on holiday. Now you’re sat at home having a well-deserved break after another busy academic year. But now you’re thinking, well, what’s next?

In all honesty, I believe it can be anything. All of us at university now have an entire world ahead of us. We’re at a point in our lives where we can choose to do whatever we want – travel, learn a new skill, get a job in anything we want to do – we have it all ahead of us.

But we all have to start somewhere, and for me, I’ve decided to focus on me and gain more work experience to help me decide what exactly it is that I want to do next.
So here are some things you might want to do this summer before the stress of lectures, seminars, tutorials and coursework all kicks in.

Give that CV a boost

The University Careers Centre offers us advice on their website or you could pop into Carrington to speak to careers consultants one-to-one about it too.The internet can give you lots of CV help as well! There are lots of website like this that could help you get going.

 

Take a minute

But remember not to stress out and get overwhelmed thinking about CVs and the future. Go see a film, go to the beach with some friends, watch some Netflix.

 

Try something new

While you have the time and the sun is shining, try something new – join the gym, cook new recipes, pick up a book.

 

Work Experience

Depending on what you are interested in, you could browse these websites for some work experience. UoR Job Shop is the place to go for part-time work, graduate jobs & even available to us one year after graduation!

Some other resources that might be helpful…
Studentgems – freelance and part-time work
EventStaffing.co.uk – event and festival work
InRetail – retail work
Internwise – internships
RateMyPlacement – internships and placements
Milkround – graduate jobs
Save The Graduate – graduate jobs
TARGETjobs – graduate jobs
So why not? Summer can be relaxing and productive at the same time! Keep busy having fun and improving yourself.

What I’m doing this Summer to achieve my career goals

Our next blog comes from second year student Rikki, who tells us all about what she’s up to this summer to help her get a head start on her career!

Finding a career after University isn’t always easy, so I’ve really learnt the importance of work experience and paid jobs to help complement your final degree. During term time, it can be extremely difficult to balance lectures, coursework, social life and day to day duties along with outside work. This is why I particularly focus on building my CV and portfolio during the Summer holidays.

At uni

I study English Language here at the University of Reading, but hope to eventually pursue a career in either marketing or PR, which are both extremely competitive fields… I took an Introduction to Marketing module as part of my degree to provide me with a solid foundation, but the reality of working in a marketing firm is very different to learning the theory in a lecture. So, after achieving 82% in my final exam, I decided to get some practical experience by joining a local marketing company in my home town.

Getting work experience

The agency I worked for focused on a direct, face-to-face approach which involved both residential and events marketing. Although this was just a Summer job, the training was invaluable and enabled me to gain further confidence and enhance my verbal communication skills. I also learnt the importance of networking and building rapport.

Using my resources

Even though I sourced this opportunity myself, I have also used the University’s careers service to enable me to secure both paid and volunteering work. This all also contributes to the University’s employability award (the RED award), which I am hoping to have completed over the Summer- it looks great on your CV! I would highly recommend emailing the careers service at the University of Reading (careers@reading.ac.uk), giving them a call (0118 378 8359) or simply visiting their job shop in the Carrington building on campus- their friendly team are always more than happy to help.

My blog

Finally, during the Summer months, I have had more time to concentrate on my own beauty blog (www.lusciouslane.blogspot.com) which I created over 4 years ago. This has already given me a huge insight into digital marketing and PR, enabling me to further stand out against the majority whilst pursuing my hobbies of creative writing and photography.

In the future…

Going forward, it is my aim to secure a Summer internship with L’Oreal next year, which has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. The global cosmetics company own a huge range of makeup and skincare brands from luxury brands like YSL and Diesel to drugstore companies like Vichy and La Roche Posay. After initially discovering their Summer internships, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to gain some first-hand insight into what work would be like in one of the world’s leading beauty brands.

Ultimately, using your contacts and time efficiently during the Summer can mean making money, keeping busy and enhancing your future prospects. It really is a win-win situation!

Summer activities around Reading

Mature student Andy, MPhil History, takes us through her top tips for keeping busy in and around Reading this summer. Got your family with you? Andy has it covered.

As the Summer continues many of us have the burning question in our minds ‘What to do with all this free time’? Some of us won’t be returning home to our families, and if you’re a mature student you may have a family of your own to entertain.

The University of Reading and our state of the art train station are fortunate to be central to many locations in the south of England. For those who drive, there are vast opportunities quite close to campus for outings and endless amounts of fun.

Reading: There are many family friendly activities taking place in our town. The Reading Museum hosts many kid friendly activities, is located off Broad Street and is very accessible. Best bit is it’s FREE!  For festivals and other events it’s always helpful to visit getreading.co.uk for neighbouring areas such as Woodley, Wokingham, and Earley. For the Oracle, visit: theoracle.com. The Reading Music Festival is also set to return on the bank holiday weekend in August.

The City of London: Traveling to London for a round trip with a ‘Friends and Family’ discount card (£30 per year) from National Rail Cards, runs at £18 to Paddington Station. London has many museums, and historical attractions that are open almost every day. Foodie, shopper, to museum hopper places to visit include: the Victoria and Albert Museum, Household Cavalry Museum (home of the famous horseguards) Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Museum, The Tower of London, Hyde Park, Harrods Department Store just to name a few.  This isn’t even mentioning all the shows to watch in London’s famous West End. All are must see and suitable for families and students alike.

Windsor: Easily accessible from Reading, holds the famous Windsor Castle, Castle Gardens, and St. George’s Cathedral and Legoland.  To visit Legoland it is suggested you book your tickets in advanced. Prices are listed as £35 per individual. Careful eyes can find discount coupons on several goods purchased at shops such as one currently with Cadburys for a voucher for ‘Buy one adult ticket and get a free’.

Winchester: A city of Saxon origin and the capitol of the old Wessex kingdom, the city of Winchester houses some of the most fascinating cites near reading within a half hour train ride.  For a start, the famous round table located in Winchester’s Great hall, and Winchester Cathedral, are sites to see.  Jane Austen fans would be interested to know that she is interned there. Throughout the summer, the cathedral is hosting monthly events, including ‘Jane Austen – Regency Tea and Readings’. The high street in Winchester houses many fascinating shopping experiences and places for lunch within its picturesque walls. The cities’ website hosts a wealth of information including free events.

 

More Summer inspiration

Our next list of summer tips comes from second year student Grace. Grace caught up with other students to find out about their ideal summer, and inspire the rest of us!

 

Exam revision takes up a significant amount of time before the summer holidays. This can lead to summer plans being easily forgotten or put to one side. If you are looking for some CV boosting, fun and last-minute ideas, or getting organised early for next summer, here are a few things six Reading University students are doing for their sunny season.

Why not broaden your horizons with some traveling?

“I’m currently traveling through Europe with Busabout, and it’s amazing!! I’ve been to Lake Como, now I’m in Switzerland, then we’re heading to Paris, Munich and Prague.”

Balancing an internship with a relaxing time abroad

“I’m going to Budapest to explore the main sites and bars for a week with friends, then I’m doing a 4-week editorial internship at a publishing company.”

“As an overseas student I spend most of my summer on the beach in Gibraltar. Though this summer also I’m going to visit morocco and Italy with some friends from university. Then I’ll return to Reading to take up a placement as part of my History Education module.”

Music Festivals are the place to be

“This summer I will be preparing for my dissertation, and working my regular part time job to save money. For fun, I’m going to lots of festivals including Field Day, Truck, Reading and more…”

Volunteering at home or away

“I’m going to America tomorrow to volunteer with the Salvation Army, then au pairing in Spain for a month, and then I’m doing work experience at the British museum!”

“This summer I am going to Bali in Indonesia for 5 weeks with a friend from the university. We are going out to volunteer and teach English in a local village school.”

 

Hopefully, these summer plans have given you plenty of food for thought on how you can get the most out of your summer!

 

Summer student stories!

Over the next few days we’ll be sharing some tips from our students about how they spend their summer holidays. We’re starting off with some last minute tips from year 3 student, Holly…

 

Do something you enjoy. I love watching tennis so got a ground pass for a day at the Wimbledon Championships

As a student, the summer holidays are arguably the best time of year. The weather picks up and you have no looming essay deadlines, exams to revise for, or lectures to go to. However, the summer is also a valuable time for us to gain some work experience, make a bit of money, or give back to our community or causes that we are passionate about.

If you have extensive summer plans already then that’s great! But as a final year undergraduate, I have learnt how to manage my summer holiday time wisely over the years and here are my top tips for you this summer.

  1. Take a minute to think about your passions. Whether that’s sports, art or film; make sure you do a little of what you enjoy.
  2. Take up something new. The summer is a great time to try out something new. For example, join a gym, learn to cook a new dish, read a new book or get creative.
  3. Think about your CV. See if you can pick up any work experience, a job to get a bit of cash or do some volunteer work. These all add to your CV, and show that you have taken some initiative over the summer holiday. Double bonus if you can combine your passions with some work or volunteering. As a geography student, I have always been passionate about the environment, so I spent some time volunteering for my local council to raise awareness of the importance of recycling in my local area. This was both interesting for me and added something a bit different to my CV. Some useful sites to find jobs and/or volunteer work can be found at the end of this article.
  4. Plan for the future. The summer holidays are the perfect time to plan what you want to achieve in the next year or so, and think more about career aspirations. Once you have a couple of goals in mind, work towards achieving them over the summer.
  5. Don’t forget that this is your summer holiday so make sure you take some time out to relax before the next busy academic year.

Welcome

Welcome to our new student blog, made for and written by students!

We will be publishing plenty of tips and experiences from current students, so keep tuned for the latest news.