Don’t get me wrong overall I did love uni, I gained a lot from it and I do value education. However, there is a big but… I knew that just having a classification wasn’t enough, especially if you are having to compete for a job, which is often now the case. I actually went to University without a specific career in mind, I just really wanted to study psychology and learn more about the subject. I quickly realised that if I left uni with a degree and nothing else, then I would be back to square one.
My A Level grades were important to get me into uni, offcourse they were! If you need certain A Levels to get into uni, then you best get revising and working your butt off… But even then it might not be good enough. If, like me, you are plodding along unsure of where life will take you, then it is best to make the most of your time, not just working 24/7 towards academic work.
Every experience is valuable! If you are unsure of what sort of job/ career you would like in the future then get experience in absolutely anything/ everything through opportunities such as work shadowing, volunteering, payed work and internships. One thing I regret not doing at a younger age is gain more experience. Experience itself opens so many new doors, it allows you to network whilst also finding out whether a potential job is for you or not. I did a 5 week placement last year, from that I was able to gain another opportunity through networking there and I found out that the profession that my placement was focused upon, wasn’t really for me! If I hadn’t have had that placement I would have carried on trying to gain experience in the wrong area, being a total waste of my time for what I’m doing now.
In uni for some reason I kept myself to myself, and I lost quite a lot of confidence (I’ve wrote a post about confidence here). I really regret not doing even more with my time, even though I did do quite a lot of volunteering and I did work part time, if I had the confidence I definitely would have put myself out there even more. One thing that really helped me was to do something that put me out of my comfort zone every single day, whether it was chatting to someone new or just walking into town on my own (I used to get quite anxious in some social situations), the more I kept pushing and believing in myself, the less anxious and more confident I felt.
Imagine having 3 A*’s at A Level or a 1st Class Degree without the ability to be confident enough to sell yourself in a job interview… Or to ring up that company you really want to work for! I’ve started to realise that without self belief and confidence it is so hard to get to where you want to be, I started to fake being confidence and with that it started to come naturally. Being confident isn’t a bad thing, I feel like arrogance and “loving yourself,” is commonly associated with it, but not everyone that is confident is those traits also, which I’ve definitely come to realise.
3) Motivation/ Drive
I know it’s so cliche but if you want something enough then you can get it. When I’m feeling really motivated and driven with whatever I’m doing, 9 times out of 10 it goes well and I see good results. Having motivation sets you aside from other people, one of my favourite quotes to keep me motivated is “go the extra mile it’s never crowded.”
I hope these points haven’t been too obvious, I just feel like so much emphasis is put on getting amazing grades when really its everything else that has got me to where I am! Don’t worry if you’re not excelling when it comes to your studies as there are so many other options! Sometimes I wish that I had been top of the class instead of just “middle of the road” with everything, but I’m really happy with where I am at, and so happy that I actually did make the effort to put myself out there.
Is there anything that you think is more important than grades? I would love to hear your experiences and thoughts on this!