Getting the Most Out of University Now to Prepare for Later

Group Studying

I can’t speak for everyone but the idea of life after university scares me a little. It seems over the last couple of years we have been hit by a barrage of buzzwords illustrating the uncertainty of this stage in our lives. I like to think of this higher form of academia as one of the few buffer zones in life that allows for one to engage in new explorations, decisions, philosophies and habits without serious consequence because it is part of the university experience (within reason of course!). This is such a great thing! There are many aspects of the university experience, from academics, to personal development, to clubs and hobbies. This series of blog posts focuses on giving tips on maximizing your career potential by making the most of your time at university. Not all learning takes place in the classroom so take advantage of the pool of knowledge and networking that surges through campus.

  1. Create paths; don’t follow one. Whether you enter University with a specific goal or not; things change. It is often too easy to fall into the trap of being tunnel-visioned into a specific academic goal, to the point where we do not consider possible deviations that may or may not be in control of ourselves.

    Work BC provides excellent resources which allow you to consider how job markets are changing and take courses that allow you to maneuver through job spaces and be a versatile future employee. An example would be if you feel as if your writing skills need improvement; take a technical writing class! If understanding the economy is an area that you would like to build; take an introductory economics class! Use your credits to build your technical skills and gain a complete understanding of important disciplines in the workforce.

  2. Taking interesting courses over “easy” courses.Throughout our academic careers, a precedent has been set that we should always strive to achieve our highest possible GPA. While this is an admirable goal, the issue is the method we use to achieve that goal. Often looking for “GPA-boosters” or “easy” courses, we start to forget the reason we are in university. We should use this time we’re in university to take courses that we find interesting or useful instead of simply easy.

    Credit/D/Fail credit grading policy implemented by UBC for exactly this purpose. Instead of taking an elective that you are unsure of and risk your GPA, you are simply awarded the credits if you receive a grade higher than 55%! Make sure to read over the grading policy and talk to an Academic Advisor to ensure it is a great fit for your academic endeavours. Allowing you to promote your learning and interest in other disciplines without affecting your GPA. Who knows, perhaps trying out a new discipline will inspire you to create and pursue new goals in your life.

  3. Your primary goal is to learn, but that should not be your only goal.Your grades do not have the final say in your future success. Instead of being viewing yourself as a student whose goal is to complete courses. View yourself as being in the epicentre of a high-powered network of established and future professional; get to know as many people as you can. The Guardian wrote an excellent article on networking in University, citing the opportunity to bounce ideas, form partnerships with other students and to connect with professors about a sector or industry you are interested in. This could be done by visiting your professors office hours, forming study groups or simply having conversations with classmates who are passionate about gaining knowledge!

You are the company you keep; who knows, maybe talking to young and bright minds will inspire and propel you to achieving goals you have never thought of! Make sure to exhaust the vast options available as a UBC student, if you ever have any questions about life after UBC or planning your academic path. Talk  to an Enrolment Services Professional, Academic Advisor or one of the many resources available to you!

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