Beyond the Warwick bubble

Thanks to Emily for providing this entertaining and thought-provoking ‘retrospective’ of her time at Warwick…

your_future_next exit_sign_190Three years at Warwick have come to an end – I’ve left the ‘bubble’ for the last time, sold my books and destroyed three years of notes.

It’s an interesting time to be a graduate. After this week I’ll be a fully-fledged adult entering the ‘real world’, but with media articlestelling us fun facts about our graduate prospects (75% of employers are looking for students with 2:1 or higher, and that 66% of students get a 2:1 anyway), I’m getting fed up of feeling like a statistic. What else have I gained from university? What makes Warwick students stand out?

So I’m taking stock of what I’ve learned from Warwick, from approximately seven hundred hours of lectures and seminars (that’s some very rough maths) to everything else that’s happened in this chapter of my life, and I’ve got to admit that the number of opportunities I’ve had outside of the classroom has been pretty astounding.

I’ve been a pig/witch/fairy/dwarf (in a panto, although I’m sure I also felt like a pig and a witch during my exams…), fronted a rock band, presented a radio show, designed posters, run societies, done a bit of Shakespeare, run a festival, and probably forgotten a bunch of other things that I tried out in my first year when I joined around twenty societies on the same day.

Aside from these things being a bit ridiculous and ridiculously fun, they’ve also helped me develop as a person, as clichéd as it sounds.

As much as Warwick students get involved with this stuff for fun and not for what it does for our careers prospects, these things really have made all the difference. Without having done much paid work while at uni, I’ve now got a pretty packed CV and have had a hand in everything from marketing and events management to financial planning, the kinds of things that employers expect you to be at least familiar with (or so I’m finding out).

What have I learned?

One of the most important things I’ve learned is that everything I’ve done at university has contributed to who I am and given me skills that help me to sell myself, and even know myself better. I’m never going to be much of a sportswoman, but I can work with a team to run events. My radio presenting skills won’t be winning me any awards, but my communication skills have definitely improved… and so on.

Even though I don’t have the next five years of my life planned out, I’ve come away from Warwick with a good degree and a wide range of skills under my belt, thanks to the over two hundred and fifty student societies and the lovely people at the Careers and Skillswho have helped me realise that it’s the other things we do – from small roles in plays to the mammoth task of running a society – that make us more than just statistics to employers.

We all know that degrees are important, but one of the best things Warwick can do for us is give us the chance to develop other skills that are invaluable in the real world, and opportunities that just don’t come up every day outside of a university environment. All we then have to do is work out what they’ve taught us, add them to that CV, and go hunting for the dream job (it’s out there somewhere…!).

So remember: I’m not a statistic. I’m a creative, adaptable, Warwick graduate who is fantastic at multitasking – and so are you. And if you should ever need a witch or a dwarf…

Emily Middleton is a Warwick graduate and has recently started work as a social media and PR account co-ordinator for Perfectly Social, a social media consultancy.


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