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In a lecture have you ever stopped writing or daydreaming for a minute and taken a look at everyone around you? Do you often reflect upon that moment of quiet where all eyes are facing the lecturer, pens are scrawling away and the odd person can be seen tapping incessantly on their Blackberry under the desk? I can probably bet my student loan that this is a daily occurrence for most of us. But how often do you pause and think about what makes you any different from the others doodling in the margins and jumping a little when someone coughs? For most students on campus the bell has rung on the fight for recognition as well as for a seat in a lecture. With so many of us reading the same books, analysing the same data and laughing at the same dodgy jokes from a lecturer how do we even begin to stand out from the University crowd?
When we’re all in the same boat paddling up similar streams and hoping for a nice job at the end of the sail, optimism and being pro-active are essential to avoid an almighty Armageddon of a stress crisis. Yes, your degree classification at the end of three or four years will reflect your abilities and effort but maybe most of us are relying too much on that first or 2:1 to help us hop, skip and jump into employment. Although the Carleton can spark creative genius in customising costumes and Pizzetta will no doubt give you a second to none culinary education, perhaps we should start popping that Lancaster bubble and see what’s on offer to make us different from the rest, if you haven’t already.
The Lancaster Award – It might not sound like the most exciting prospect for many, but, in a day where jobs are scarce and eager students are plenty this qualification will definitely be an invaluable string to your bow. Remember, it’s accredited by top employers so this will definitely make your CV sparkle.
Involve and Create – Both these branches of voluntary enrichment will send you on your way to creativity and inspiration. Start up or help with growing student businesses or visit schools for reading and crafts workshops. The variety offered in many areas will give you that extra edge on a job application. If you get your thinking beanie on in a couple of years time you might even end up on Dragon’s Den.
Tour guiding – When the message goes around your department for tour guiding don’t immediately dismiss it as a waste of your time. It might be minimum wage but the interpersonal skills it demonstrates will look great for employers. Also, just think how much fun it will be trying to convince people how beautiful Alexandra square will look over the shouting builders. A good sales pitch is always a useful skill.
Society Exec – If you’re an active member of a society applying to be on the Exec for the coming year will give you a responsible role and emphasise your organisation and leadership skills. Sometimes, if you’re really lucky you might even get a posh t-shirt with your name on too.
Now I’m not suggesting that we all start banging the door down at Involve, just take a minute to stop and think how much more you could be doing with your three years at Lancaster. When there are so many of us ready for a graduate scheme brawl is it simply enough to just sit back and hope that something will come leisurely our way at the end of it all? Every cloud has a lining, so get out there, be pro-active and make it silver.