Three years to get your degree. That’s a big win.
You could wish that it was only two years. Or a week and half. Anything less than three years would be an advantage, wouldn’t it?
Not necessarily. Because you’re not at university *just* to get that piece of paper and the highest possible grade.
There’s even more value available in being distinctive.
My last couple of posts on TheUniversityBlog have looked at thinking beyond your grades and getting the most value from your student experience. Let’s wrap things up here by celebrating all the little plans while you’re working toward that big moment of graduation.
You may feel like there’s loads of time left.
Trust me, it’ll be over quicker than you’d like it to be.
Lots of small goals
Your journey is full of lots of smaller wins. They may even add up to much more than the one big win of graduating.
Here’s the way Fast Company describes it:
“How do you prevent the intimidating big picture from dragging you down? Simply by finding ways to push yourself higher to more creative, more innovative levels that make you feel proud and give you the strength to make it through the tough days.” [SOURCE]
There’s so much happening right now. But with so much thought of the future and that one big goal of graduating being the driver, it’s easy to neglect where you are at this moment.
Your relationship with higher education can quickly swerve off-course.
That’s not your fault. There’s a lot to think about.
And because you’re thinking about so many things, you may forget to define your smaller goals.
A focus on getting a degree is understandable when the degree is another box ticked. Another step up the ladder. But it’s not enough.
Three years spent on a single box ticking goal isn’t a good use of time. I’m sure you completely understand that.
But that doesn’t mean the goal doesn’t get in the way.
Even when you make it a goal among many goals, it’s paired with that big future goal of getting a job after you graduate.
Degree as minimum requirement
Ticking the box is always at the back of your mind. And unless you see all your non-degree related skills and experiences as relevant in the long-term, you may still put the emphasis on ticking that box before anything else.
As you enjoy the club you joined, casually volunteer, and fill up your free time with fun, it could all mean something big. Notice that. Don’t leave everything to chance; make a bigger plan to fit in smaller goals, while you’re pursuing your big box-ticking goal.
No need to trust luck to get you further. You can spend a little more time and effort making a better bet for your future?
The degree isn’t the ultimate goal.
The degree is just the start. It’s the baseline. It’s the minimum requirement.
Beyond work experience and other well-worn paths, there are other things you can do. Things that don’t always take up too much of your time either. Schedule wisely and a few minutes each day may be all you need to create an empire of awesome.
Planning, with or without a plan…
You may not even know what your future career plans are. Even uncertainty can come in useful:
- You can explore new skills and experiences that aren’t limited to a single area of work;
- You can find a new dynamic to help you see things differently and, perhaps, more clearly;
- You can get some first-hand experience of different fields, allowing you to decide whether or not you want it to have a place in your future working life.
So while it may take you three or more years to get that stamp of approval from the university, that should give you time to build a bigger picture of yourself at the same time. The more you can do that, the easier it will be to sell yourself when you finally do graduate.
More than just a degree, you’ll have a lot more to show at the end of those three years.
Note it down as you go along. Big and small, document your achievements and experiences. They could come in handy later. And it’s better to have it set out as you go along, rather than wracking your brains later and getting a blank.
Over these years, what will you achieve and proudly show off as part of the story of you?