Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Making and taking risks at university

University is an awesome time to learn and study but it is also the first time that many of us are striking out on our own and becoming used to being independent. Some students revert into their shells and choose to stick within the expected guidelines of university life. That can work to your advantage as you won’t find much challenge and will get high grades. We all know that academic achievement is a major positive for anyone in a university situation – however it won’t impress employers if you’ve never tried anything challenging. Additionally, university is one of the few times when you’re encouraged to take different learning opportunities.

These opportunities don’t have to be as big as taking a difference course or going overseas, in fact sometimes it’s better if they aren’t. These are all anticipated and expected opportunities. Below are some ideas for was you can introduce yourself to minor risks and get used to the idea that things can go wrong – and you are more than capable of dealing with them!   
Even just a book club can be
a great place to start!

1.      Go to a new activity group

Many freshmen sign up to lots of different clubs at the beginning of first year – but as the year carries on and the stress level increases we drop out. That’s because learning new things is hard and the criticism that comes on along with that can discourage anyone from continuing the struggle of learning something new.

However, in second year when you’re a bit more used to the challenges of university life try to take up a new group. Don’t’ worry if it’s not particularly strenuous -- one of the best groups I ever joined was a university brunch group! All it took was a Sunday morning in a restaurant enjoying some delicious breakfast group.

It can be a risk because too much time spent in groups can take away from your studies. Moreover, it can alter your schedule and leave you open to mismanaging your time. However, if managed well they can make a great talking point for future employment interviews and potentially create unique networking opportunities.

2.      Take up a new hobby

Like a social group hobbies are very popular in the new year and begin to wane as the realities of life and stress get in the way. Realistically, hobbies can represent a bit of a risk to a university student – they are highly enjoyable and can really take away from your studies. Additionally, those with perfectionist tendencies will probably struggle to take up something new.

If you can let go of this fear and explore something different you can totally open yourself up to a whole new variety of talents and advantages. In your future workplace, you may be surprised how miscellaneous knowledge can help add that extra sparkle to your output. While you’re in university it’s worth thinking how a hobby can work into your five-year plan to make sure that you have a competitive edge in the market.

3.      Try a different social group

Social groups or cliques are often satirized in the media as bitchy groups of people. This much is sort of true, exclusivity is the hallmark of any group friendship group – otherwise it’s just a mob. However, cross social groups can provide an extra boost to your widening perspective. Try
socializing with people from diverse cultures, age groups and disciplinary studies.

Additionally, the information that you gain from these new perspectives can be translated into your academic career. Providing extra information or criticism, when done properly, can boost your grade up a percentile.

4.      Work experience in a different industry area

Similar to learning new perspectives through others learning the practices of another industry can provide you with an advantage both in your academic pursuits and to a future employer. For example, a law student working in a retail area or an accounting area can have a broader and applicable knowledge when working in tax law or corporate law. The advantages to broader perspectives and knowledge are many. While they may take time from your studies or be an imperfect venture into something unknown the payoff is far greater than the risk!