Dealing with careers and employment…What, Already!?

Examination

Two news stories I noted on the BBC News website that have caught my eye. Firstly:

EARNING ‘HARMS STUDENTS’ FUTURES’

It’s a basic fact that some of us need the money to afford the essentials, let alone anything else. I was one of those people.

But I was determined not to find part-time employment and forego quality university time. I’d find an unconventional way through instead. And you may be able to do the same thing.

So what did I do? I became a Senior Student in my final year. It transported me back on to campus halls, with all the first year students, where there was always something going on and always loads of fun to be had. And whilst getting that fantastic opportunity, I had my rent paid for me. Even better, because it was campus accommodation, I didn’t have utility bills to pay either. As Alan Partridge would say, “Back of the net!”

As a Senior Student, I was required to go out on a nightly warden duty with the main warden, but this was usually less than once a fortnight and never lasted more than a few hours. To be honest, it was great fun to see loads of your mates when on duty and laugh at the numerous drunken antics of some peeps. If I couldn’t be one of them on those nights, why not enjoy the show and then remind them the following morning (or whenever they eventually resurface…)?

Of course, I had to be responsible for the students too. I had a direct watch on 28 students, but it rarely posed a problem. The subsidised living costs and the fun far outweighed any of the work that was required of me. And when my assistance was needed, I was always more than happy to help, because I was getting so much out of the situation.

Your university probably has a similar scheme with similar benefits, so it’s worth finding out. Your Student Services should be able to point you in the right direction (Senior Students at the University of Winchester, where I studied, are mentioned in this interview with the uni’s Security and Safety Officer). Of course, there are the usual jobs like working in the SU bars and shops, so that’s sometimes a good halfway house, as you’re still on campus and dealing with the student populace (i.e. your mates). Either way, I’d definitely recommend the university route if you need the money to get you through. Best of luck!

The second article on the BBC News website is:

CAREERS ADVICE TOO ‘CONFUSING’

I wonder if this situation will ever be sorted out. Careers advice is very difficult for a lot of people, even for those who have just finished their degrees.

Matthew Parris was basically “advised to be a spy” when he was at uni. Exactly the same thing happened to another person I know while they studied for their degree. So things haven’t changed much apparently. And just like Matthew Parris, my friend went to all the MI6 tests and got through without a hitch, but realised at the last minute that it was completely the wrong career for him.

After university, I didn’t have a clear view of career, although I imagined myself returning to the world of higher education at some point (that return is bubbling up now, a little quicker than I thought would have been the case. But hey, a passion is a passion, so I’m not knocking it in the slightest).

Such an emphasis is put on students to work out their future career plans that it’s no wonder so many people panic about it, or think that they are the only person without a solid plan set out. The truth is, loads of us are like that.

I’m not surprised that careers advice is confusing for so many people. As the BBC article states, there is still a place for careers advice, but it needs to focus more on the individual and their profile. Unless someone already has a clear idea of what they want for their working life, I can’t see any benefit in trying to focus a person too specifically. But if the help can be more specific to a person, yet give them a good selection of possibilities, it will allow the individual to get out there and learn more off their own back when they really want to settle.

Finally, it’s good to see students “resorting to their own initiative to develop their careers and contacts online”. That’s how things are progressing. We’re known as Gen-Y for reasons such as this and a lot of people are finding success as a result. My one piece of advice regarding this would be:

– Don’t forget to complement online work and research with more traditional methods, such as research from books, advice services, friends and family, etc. It’s best to use ALL things to your advantage. Look down every path for the greatest scope and your chances of finding what you want will be increased greatly.

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