career decisions / Self awareness

Do I need to think about my career in my first year?

First year is aptly named. Not only is it the first year of your programme of study, but this also comes bundled up in a whole lot of other ‘firsts’. This could be living independently, having freedom and making some key decisions that you directly influence for example. Students should be encouraged to embrace this opportunity to connect with others, find a sense of belonging in their new university community – whether with like-minded peers on your chosen degree or through more social activities including clubs and societies. These experiences can also demonstrate the key employability skills all employers require.

The transition to university may feel challenging but support is available throughout your degree

This initial period of transition may be daunting for some, exciting for others and a whole mix of everything in between for many others. You might find that as you settle into university life, there is so much information that you can feel uncertain about what to prioritise.

In amongst the numerous email or social media channels you may sign up for during Welcome Week, there is likely to be information from the Careers Service. At this point, you may be thinking‘I don’t need that yet, I’m only just getting started’ or ‘That’s just for finalists’ but be assured that they are there to support first years too.

Whether you have an idea in mind about your career aspirations, or you have absolutely no idea at all, Warwick Careers can help you to reflect and explore ideas about the kind of future you might like to create for yourself. If you are really unsure of direction, an appointment with a Senior Careers Consultant can help you to identify the things that you are curious about that might help you begin to tackle that (quite big!) question.

Find your starting point, it will make your career decision more manageable

Having a starting point can really help, and though it may be useful to begin to consider career early on, it is absolutely not essential to have it all figured out during first year. I’ll let you in on a secret – this tends to be a lifelong process – so think about what kind of journey you might enjoy most! Increasing your self-awareness can be an often overlooked but very important first step towards a realistic, informed career plan. Reflect on your skills, personal qualities and values, for example and you will be more likely to choose a career that your are ideally suited to.

(by Kelly Coles, Senior Carers Consultant, Warwick Medical School)

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