If you’re about to join us as a new undergraduate, here’s some really important advice. Getting involved is what University is all about! Of course academic learning is important but it is only one part of the personal development experience which is university life. You need to seize the opportunities which come your way and make the best of everything. This really is one example of “the more you put in, the more you get out”! Claire Norman a recent graduate shares her thoughts on extra curricular activities and her personal development with us.
“During my 4-year course at Warwick I was an active member of societies, took part in sports and assumed roles within my Department. From teaching fitness and tap dance lessons, to being the President of a Dance Society, to being a Careers Representative for French, I got stuck in straight away. Not only did these make my CV glow, but they also kept me busy and allowed me to meet some amazing people, some of whom I expect to be friends for life. Warwick offers an infinite range of opportunities that one will struggle to find elsewhere. There really is something for everyone. All you need to do is give things a go!
You can achieve anything you want!
I became the President of Street Vibe dance society after having completed only two terms at Warwick. I proved to myself that if you put your mind to something that you really want, there is NO reason why you can’t achieve it. I’m a stammerer which made it really difficult for me to take on this role. I needed confidence and initiative and had to be able to do public speaking. It sounds corny to say that doing all this made me the person I am today, but it’s true!
You’ve already got great skills
You may think that when you come to university for the first time that you have a wide skills set, and to some extent you’re right. You’ll be good at IT, can probably have a decent stab at making a presentation and your time management isn’t bad. You managed to juggle everything at school and still got great A Levels. However, I guarantee that if you get involved in university life, your skills will improve exponentially while you’re there. Be reflective as well as proactive. Your current skill level will probably get you through your first year, but if you want to move on and do really well you’ll need to develop. You’ll have to work on your skills – not just your academic studies. Think about what you’re not so good at and work on an improvement plan. That’s more challenging than working on the things at which you already excel but in the end will make more difference to your future. It’ll allow you to present yourself as a well-rounded individual to employers. People will tell you that with a degree from Warwick doors will open – they’re not lying. However, these doors will open much wider if you can demonstrate and showcase all the extra skills you learnt while you were here. Employers will love you!
The confidence to campaign
In January during my final year I decided that I really wanted to make a difference. I set up a campaign called STUC (Stammerers Through University Campaign), designed to support staff and students who stammer, to make the most of their time at university and to achieve to their full potential. By the time my finals were over that May, I had set up a website, Facebook page and Twitter feed . I had also involved others. I held a Focus Group at Warwick to help me get going and obtained a grant of £500 from the university to assist me in my campaign. I guaranteed partnerships with Newcastle University and the British Stammering Association. A few months down the line I now have interest from Oxford University, UCL, KCL, Cambridge University and Google! I am so proud of this. From pushing myself outside my comfort zone in my first year I developed the skills and the confidence to set up this campaign single handedly and it now has a life of its own. I needed all my powers of management, communication, perseverance and initiative to get to where we are with the campaign. I saw that something needed doing and did it! So can you!
Take advantage of everything
I know of some people who have just graduated from Warwick who did not participate in any societies and sports; I think they missed out! University is one of the only times in your life when things are on your doorstep, either at a very low cost or even free of charge. So don’t graduate from a top university without having taken advantage of all it has to offer!”