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Things You Should Be Thinking About At University

It's got to the time of year where you may have received lectures from the career's service or overheard third year conversations about life beyond university. Here are a few things you may want to consider when weighing up the future.

What career prospects do you have?

I personally have no idea what I want to do, but I have at least ruled some career pathways out and know the rough direction I wish to take. Think of your talents, what you enjoy, what you don’t enjoy, what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning!

Work experience and internships

Paid or not, these are great ways to boost your CV and help you to understand what kind of job or career you want when you graduate, as well as which jobs you want to avoid. For example, after doing work experience a couple of times in an old people’s home I decided it was far too sad and it wasn’t the career for me.

Study abroad or a gap year

In first year I really wanted to go on a study abroad year in my second year, but I did not want to lose the friends I had made in first year, leave my boyfriend or have to settle in to a new place again, after struggling to do so in Lancaster. I think this was out of my comfort zone and I wish I had pursed a year abroad to experience a new culture and meet new people and not be held back by worrying.

However, I believe in third year you get the chance to do a semester abroad if you wish. There is also the opportunity to take a gap year, whether this be during or after university. Doing so during university can be difficult as it may interfere with your studies and make you not want to return to studying though! A gap year might give you a chance to work out what it is you want to do with your future, whether you spend it travelling or working or just living at home!

Any travelling, festivals or fun you want to have in your few remaining summers

Here’s something that’s very hard to hear: we only have a few summers left. We are so used to having weeks upon weeks of free time in summer when we were at school and then at university, we get up to three months. When entering the real world we only get a limited number of weeks off a year. So use your time wisely – fill it with holidays, volunteering, festivals and spending time with friends and family.

Master’s degree or any other further qualifications

If you’re still unsure on what you want to do with your future then maybe an extra year or more in education can give you more time and experiences to work out what it is you really want to do. However, master’s degrees are very difficult they will further your chances on getting a good job when you graduate, as you have developed even further into your education and widened your skills.

Where you might live

If you chose to move away for university and do not enjoy it, then maybe moving away in the future is not for you. However, if you did enjoy moving out and living independently then maybe moving abroad or further away from your hometown is an option! Perhaps work out your boundaries, such as if you do not want to live in London, this can limit your career options but you know not to apply for jobs around that area.

Caitlin Biwer

Lancaster '20

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