Reflecting on my time at uni

Finalist student, Alexander, shares his thoughts on his time at university…

“I’m now in my final week of being a student, so I thought I would share some of my reflections on my three years as a student here…
• The three years has gone by scarily quickly! I have always aimed to make the most of my time here, through attending careers events and Life Tools Talks, nearly all of which I have found helpful in one way or another. I can still remember helpful ‘nuggets’ from events I attended a long time ago! In my 1st year I completed the RED Award, which felt like a good achievement and I have put it on my C.V. It was a useful experience, as it motivated me to get stuck in and gain more knowledge, understanding and skills. The good thing about RED award is that you can tailor it you and do it at your own pace.

• My career plans have changed slightly since coming to university. I was unsure about what I wanted to do, but after a lot of thought, completing two careers modules, a placement, some networking, I have a much better idea. Uni is a good opportunity to think about and plan what you want to do next.

• It has been fantastic to meet a wide variety of people, from different backgrounds and walks of life. It doesn’t matter who you are, you will be accepted, as students at University are much more open-minded than they are at school! If you are finding it hard to settle in, or will be joining Reading Uni in September, check out the vast range of opportunities available here (including how to become a Student Communications Ambassador – which is the paid role myself and the other writers of this blog have).

• Hard work does pay off, but getting the work/life balance is important too. At uni my work ethic, determination and stamina have improved. At times it did feel like I was working almost non-stop (I’m sure you can all relate to that!), but on top of working hard I did have times when I played hard. I would sometimes get frustrated when my work/life balance wasn’t how I wanted it to be. I worked harder during my time at uni than I did at college and it has definitely reaped more rewards. I learnt to appreciate that getting the work/life balance is a challenge for everyone and will probably continue to be a challenge.

• Confidence in my abilities has grown. I came to uni unsure how far I would get, but willing and determined to give it a go.

• I’ve really enjoyed the independence and getting to know a new area. I have enjoyed Reading so much that I’m hoping to stay. The transport links and being close to London are what I love about Reading.

• I’ve loved studying on both campuses at Whiteknights and London Road. I think our campuses are a lot greener and more spacious than others… certainly compared to the ones I’ve visited. The Green Flag award has been well earned!

• Support from the Disability Advisory Service, RUSU and the Careers Service have been very useful and helped me to relax and be more confident.

Are you in your final year? What have you enjoyed, learnt or discovered at uni? Leave a comment below. If you are leaving uni, good luck for the future and if you’re staying at uni good luck for the rest of your course!”

How i’m making the most of my final term at uni

Theatre, arts and deaf studies student, Alexander, tells us about what he’ll be getting up to during the last few weeks of his time at the University of Reading…

We’re halfway through the summer term and for many of you (like me) this will be your final term here! You probably will have mixed feelings about this – I know I certainly do! My three years at Reading have whizzed by and I can’t believe it’s nearly over, but here is what I’m doing to make the most of my final term…

Careers prep. I have attended the Careers Centre a couple of times recently. The first was a 15 minute ‘CV clinic’ appointment, where I was given a number of useful hints and tips on improving my CV. The second was a 30-minute appointment to address questions and concerns I had regarding job-hunting and receive feedback on speculative letter recently written. I’ve also attended a ‘finalist careers hacks’ event, which was also really useful. I recently attended the Reading Job Fair, where I spoke to a number of employers, had a number of interesting conversations and received further feedback on my CV with a careers adviser. I have started to apply for jobs and I’m finding it an interesting process and have come across some exciting roles.

Volunteering. I’ve always loved volunteering in a variety of establishments. You get to meet new people, gain new skills and learn a lot. It’s always really rewarding knowing that you’re helping a company or charity, and it looks great on your CV Currently I’m volunteering for the Rising Sun Arts Centre and Christians Against Poverty at Network Vineyard Church. The great thing about volunteering is you usually only need to give up a few hours on an ad hoc basis. If you have some free time this term, find out what opportunities are available across Reading clicking here.

Preparing for graduation. I’ve registered to graduate and booked tickets and now waiting for further details. I’m very excited to graduate on 4th July (but not liking the uncertainty of what’s going to come next!!) Did you know that all students graduating this year (July and December) will be eligible for free gown hire?!

Returning library loans. Time to take back all those books I’ve hoarded over the last few weeks and make sue I’ve paid any fines incurred! Click here for info on returning books.

Reflecting on my time at Reading. I have been reflecting on my time here, and thinking about how much I have learnt and developed, personally and academically – which is a real confidence booster and helps with career prep.

If you have any ideas, hints or tips, post a comment below. I hope you have an enjoyable and productive term and also get a chance to relax at times. Good luck!