This post was written by an external contributor. Christian Lynn discusses why saying yes at university could ultimately shape your future.
It’s hard to stay motivated beyond what’s necessary during uni. All that’s needed, when it comes down to it, is that you write an assignment to the best of your ability, or work through an exam with enough revision to complete it with confidence. With both these things in the bag, any one of us can wander away from a university course having ticked all the necessary boxes.
However, by doing so, we’re all really doing ourselves a disservice. We have an amazing opportunity to do so much with our study time, yet we often fail to fulfill it. Whether this is due to the unconquerable lure of YouTube video sprees, or an unfortunate case of nerves, it is certainly an issue that plagues many students. But I’m here to promise you that refusing to say yes to all the situations thrown at you is a big no-no, because you could be refusing some possibly life-changing decisions…
Say yes to joining a society
Societies are great. They offer a social environment that capitalises on a hobby or passion. Whether this is a language club, a sports team or an Assassin’s Creed videogame society (yes, it exists), there’s something for you to enjoy.
There is much more to building skills than wandering off to the library and reading X number of books. So, the next time you pass the student union, take a walk inside and say yes to the first thing you take an interest in.
Say yes to going out
No, you didn’t read that wrong; going out with friends can really benefit you in the long run. If you sit at home with your face firmly planted between the pages of a book, you can certainly lead yourself to a great degree, but you won’t build on the communicative skills needed to really sell yourself as an approachable, likeable and employable individual.
So, if you get asked to go to the pub for a pint and you’ve done enough studying, go out and have fun! Socialising can build confidence and help develop a rapport with others that you can use to your advantage when applying for jobs.
Say yes to working alongside your studies
Working around uni can feel a little overwhelming. Deadlines might be approaching, but your boss may still be asking you to cover a shift that’ll interfere with your studying. What is the best way to cope? In my opinion, this kind of unbearable pressure is a good thing.
Yes, it may sound like a self-defeating prophecy, but if you can manage to balance work, study and a social life, you’ve effectively demonstrated that you can handle any kind of deadline or pressure and still come out on top. If employers can see this kind of ambition in you, it’ll hugely benefit you in your career prospects.
How saying yes helped me
My focus in life is to become a film journalist, or a movie critic if you will. This is a challenging, niche market, especially as most publications have a maximum of two or three main critics working at any one time. It was vital that I made my voice heard, to demonstrate what I can offer that others can’t.
In my first year, I had nothing extra-curricular on my radar. So, in the wide circle of employable people, I looked dispassionate. Therefore, as I progressed through university, I decided to get involved with as many activities and societies as I could to make myself stand out from the crowd.
I saw a random little email in my inbox about an arts and culture publication for my university. I decided to take a chance, applied and was successful. Following this I then approached other outlets, getting involved in numerous writing projects. Now I have a ton of experience, a portfolio of work and even a little financial incentive. All because I just went for it and said yes.
It’s so important that this becomes the common attitude. So often people pass up the best occasions because it’s much easier to kick our feet up and not care. One could argue that by making the effort now, somewhere down the line, all that experience will pay off and the pressure of a job won’t be as hard, as you will have already experienced the tense balancing act of university.
If you have any hobbies, join a society. While you’re working hard, play even harder. Now is the time to do it. Start saying yes and life will reward you in wonderful and surprising ways.