Graduate

How to Ask For Something When It’s Out of Your Control – TUB-Thump 035

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When a friend of a friend is the right person to speak with, what’s the best way to get an introduction to them?

Ben Casnocha refers to a great way to ask for something, while putting no pressure on the person you’re asking.

It’s a good technique. But not everyone will feel comfortable saying that they have no expectations from the request.

Episode 34 of TUB-Thump takes a look at another way of asking for something. And it’s a potential win-win. Because there aren’t that many times when acknowledging your lack of control can be in your favour.


Here are the show notes for the 5-min episode:

  • 00:30 – Low-pressure Introductions (Ben Casnocha)
  • 01:10 – Hesitation and zero expectations. When no expectations don’t sound quite right.
  • 02:00 – Give people the choice when you ask for something. Even though you have some sort of expectation, you know that the choice belongs very much the other person. As a bonus, highlighting that person’s control could help you to get the outcome you’d like. Two thumbs fresh!

Music for TUB-Thump is Life, by Tobu, which is released under a Creative Commons license. Check out more of Tobu’s great sounds on Soundcloud, YouTube, and his official site.

TUB-Thump is part of the Learning Always Network.

Keep being awesome!

Even the Best Future Plans Take Surprising Detours – TUB-Thump 033

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Where do you see yourself in five years?

Wait, don’t answer that. No matter how well you have your future planned, things never turn out quite that way.

For some, the outcome is mostly as expected. But you’re still been dealt a few surprises along the way.

For others, the outcome isn’t even close to what you imagined it to be.

And don’t forget those who don’t have a clue what their future holds. The mystery all but guarantees a surprising ride.

Even a steady path can see a sudden change in direction.

Take Brooke Storer-Church, for example. A decade into a restaurant career wasn’t enough to stop her trading it all in and moving back towards higher education.

Take technological advances, for another example. Who knows how you’ll live your life and what type of jobs will be needed a decade down the line?

When you do look back in five years, in a decade, or when you retire, you’ll have a story to tell. That story will be a bit more certain and easy to tell than the reality as you were living that story.

That’s why I wanted to take a few words from Brooke Storer-Church as inspiration for Episode 033 of TUB-Thump.

Wherever you see yourself in the future, get ready for an exciting ride of worthwhile twists and turns.


Here are the show notes for the 5-min episode:

  • 00:45 – Brooke Storer-Church on how varied work experience improves graduate prospects.
  • 01:00 – You look back in time and create a story that looks like you had a clear, linear path to now. That’s fine in hindsight, but the reality is a bit different.
  • 01:50 – Immense value in those bends…
  • 02:30 – No matter how much you like what you’re doing now, that could change. It could take a year, 5 years, 10 years…And if it does change, that doesn’t mean you need to worry about it. It could even be a blessing.
  • 03:50 – It’s interesting to see how people change as they develop. The process can be slow and disjointed, but can also be necessary.
  • 04:30 – We don’t know what’s around the corner in the general context of the world, so how would we know how our own life will shape up until we’ve actually lived it?
  • 05:00 – Whether you feel like everything is sussed out, or you haven’t got a clue what your next moves are, seek out the value in all the twists and turns you encounter.

Music for TUB-Thump is Life, by Tobu, which is released under a Creative Commons license. Check out more of Tobu’s great sounds on Soundcloud, YouTube, and his official site.

TUB-Thump is part of the Learning Always Network.

Keep being awesome!

Why Your Careers Service is Just as Great When You DON’T Know What You Want To Do In the Future

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“Planning for the future can simply be about a toe in the water, not commitment.”
– Sarah Longwell, Careers Adviser (Keele University)

Student data suggests that many who would benefit from their university careers service tend not to use it.

Similar findings are in this year’s Unite Students Insight Report, which echoes previous years of the student survey. While most students are aware of the benefits of their careers service, they don’t always take action and visit.

Also, students without solid future plans in mind are less likely to use their careers service. It’s worrying that one of the best places for further research and thinking about future possibilities could be overlooked.

This year’s Unite Students report states:

“Students have most commonly gone to their parents and the internet for advice about choosing a career and applying for jobs; it is less common that they have used career services at their university for advice.”

I asked Sarah Longwell, Careers Adviser at Keele University, about what students can do when they’re not sure what they want to do when they graduate.


TUB: “How can students plan for the future when uncertain about their future plans?”

Sarah: “Planning for the future can simply be about a toe in the water, not commitment.

“The best place to start is for students to think about themselves – what do they enjoy, what motivates them, what matters to them and what are their strengths.

“Consider what activities they have gained the greatest satisfaction from, what aspects of their degree they enjoy, how others would describe them… Students can then consider opportunities that tie in with all the above. It’s all about starting points!”

TUB: “What’s one simple, yet effective, action someone can make right now to start their career journey?”

Sarah: “The simplest action a student can take is to go and see a careers adviser early in their degree. A careers adviser can help them to reflect upon what they might be seeking in a career and make suggestions based upon this. These will only be suggestions, as no one else can tell a student what would definitely suit them, but careers advisers have the expertise to advise and guide on the basis of an in depth discussion.”

TUB: “Why should Freshers start thinking about their future plans in their first year, even though graduation seems so far away? And why is it important they visit their careers centre sooner rather than later?

Sarah: “If students start early, they have plenty of time to research ideas, reject or further research them and then attend events with employers and arrange work experience with the option to change career ideas or direction at any stage.

“Panic career decision making is rarely effective!”


The bottom line is this:

If you’re not sure what your future plans will look like when you graduate, it’s well worth checking out your careers service at university and chatting with a careers adviser.

At worst, you’ll feel none the wiser for a quick visit.

At best (and far more likely), you’ll have some food for thought and you’ll be one step closer to finding something that’s right up your street.

High Fliers Research [in The Graduate Market in 2016] found that:

“Almost all the leading graduate recruiters are working with local university careers services this year and there has been a marked increase in employers taking part in university recruitment events”.

According to the report, 94% of employers used careers services, with over a quarter of them doing more in that direction than the previous year.

Most employers also used campus presentations and careers fairs, so there’s plenty happening on campus.

Even if you think it’s too early to check out what your university has on offer, take a look while you can do it casually.

7 Crucial Considerations To Help You Stay In Touch With Uni Friends After You Graduate

I sometimes wonder if I’m the absolute worst at keeping in touch with friends.

Okay, I have some close mates who like to compete for the title. So maybe lots of us are like that.

How well do you keep the sparks flying? Are you fiendishly friend-focused, or do you have serious trouble touching base?

If it’s bad for you now, think how tough you’ll find it when you graduate!

So this post is for you (and me) to reflect on how we can do better at having meaningful relationships, even from a distance and when your lives go in every direction.

Here are seven thoughts on staying BFFs with heart and passion:

1. Understand that not everyone is brilliant at keeping in touch.

You may already be amazing at relationships. Some people keep the flame burning with ease. Others treat the flame like an oxygen-free room would…It goes out instantly and it’s practically impossible to reignite the fire.

If you NEVER hear from a friend and they aren’t excited when you get in touch, maybe it’s time to cut your losses. Otherwise, try not to sweat it. Be happy that you can reach out better than most people.

2. Embrace the inevitable change that comes your way.

Whether you’re leaving the comfort of campus in your second year, or you’re moving back home at the end of your degree, one thing is always the same…Change!

A common response is to lament how people move on, but why not enjoy experiencing all the developments that your friends go through, just the same as you’re developing yourself?

That mindset alone helps you let go of unimportant things and keep hold of what really matters. You awesome friend, you.

3. Get in touch meaningfully.

Go beyond social media. Send a letter or a postcard once in a while. You don’t have to be on holiday or doing anything special either.

Buy some fun postcards and stamps, keep them close to hand, and write a few brief words of love every now and then. Make it a habit. I wish I’d done this. I got as far as collecting some postcards, but didn’t get much further. Don’t make my mistake!

4. It’s all about the little things in life.

Telling your friends what you’re up to gets you thinking about the big news you want to share. But if you want to stay in touch more frequently, nothing beats a bit of boring detail.

Your day-to-day life is what makes you tick. The big experiences are profound and worth talking about, but not at the expense of the other weeks in the year when you’re not doing something massive.

Share your small stories and let your mates know what it’s like to be you in the calmer, everyday moments.

5. Don’t begrudge them new mates.

When you’ve lived in someone else’s pockets for a year or three, you can get pretty possessive. And it’s fair to be a bit jealous when you know someone else is hanging around such a good mate on a regular basis.

But would you rather your good friend had no other friends? Would you prefer that they stayed in every night and had no social life?

It would be strange if your friend had left university and NOT made some new mates. There’s no need to feel like it’s a competition or that your friendship has been overtaken by someone else.

All friendships are unique, so drop the comparisons and love your matchless bond.

6. Find new ways to get together.

I’ve found that the best way to keep long-distance friendships sparkly is to vary the activities.

Go to events, go on holiday, go to their place, invite them to yours, meet up halfway and explore a brand new place…

7. …Or have a regular meetup.

Routine reunions are another way to ensure you have something to be excited about from one visit to another.

The reason why I prefer to mix things up is because it’s difficult when circumstances change and the regular thing becomes too difficult. Jobs can make it difficult. So can kids, moving further away, and other commitments.

But a change in situation doesn’t mean a change in friendship. You just need to be willing to work with new conditions.

If that means a new routine can be found, great! Otherwise, don’t be afraid to focus more on special events to keep the spark alive.

How good are you at keeping in touch? I like visits and events, but I’m not so good with the everyday communication. There are people I haven’t seen in years who I think about almost daily. If only they knew that I was thinking about them.

My job is to get back in contact and let those people know. That’s next on my list.

What’s next on yours?

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