Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Extra-curricular activities at University

Today we have Ali Matena writing a blog for us. We met Ali last month when she came down to the TARGETjobs HQ for a one-day work experience – hope she enjoyed it. Today she will write about the importance of getting yourself out there and taking part in extra-curricular activities. It may be the thing that makes you stand out from the rest of the competition.

University without extra-curricular activities is like tea without sugar, for me anyway. It’s not a complete necessity, but it adds something and sweetens up the experience.

I recall the headlines on my first day at university: ‘Loughborough University Rugby team consecutively clinches cup gold’ and ‘Students give back to the community through park cleaning efforts’. Apparently, university wasn’t just for studying.

If you think your group of friends and peers expands when you come to university, wait until you join a team, society or project… that network explodes.
I am a project leader of a volunteering scheme – something which helped me get to know a diverse range of people at university.

Organising for nearly one hundred students to go into local schools and assist children with their reading skills and confidence is no mean feat. On top of that my university work has forced me to manage my time in an adaptable way. Time management is important with employers; if you can’t get somewhere on time you may not really be serious about the job.

University life encompasses a plethora of opportunities. Being a keen netball player from a young age I knew I had to get involved with attempting some sort of netball, particularly at a university renowned for its sporting talent and consistent success. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t wait to get started, but it is intimidating.

Through overcoming the fear of trialling in the midst of some of the UK’s best netballers, I learned something vital to help me through the employment process. In order to strive for what you want, you have to push yourself and venture out of your comfort zone. Participating in extra-curricular activities in the first place demonstrates a pro-active attitude.

I didn’t make the squad in my first year, making me question my strengths and myself. However, without this setback I wouldn’t have had something to build myself up from. I tried again in my second year and succeeded.

Knowing I had worked hard for something I was aiming for, and achieving it, erased the frustration of my first year. I could have just given up but I didn’t and through doing this, I subconsciously developed my employer-friendly skills displaying that I could bounce back from disappointment.

Extra-curricular activities are not for everyone, and balancing them with a full-time degree is challenging. However, consciously or not, they are moulding you into somebody an employer duly welcomes as well as assisting you in  making the most of that coveted time at university.

Check out how to write about your activities when it comes to putting together your CV.