I’m not going to claim there’s a perfect way to approach university. But, most freshers are going to be confronted with similar issues such as how do I make the most of my time here, how do I perform academically at university level, and what career path should I take when I graduate? I’ve been thinking about these issues throughout my time in Leeds; now in the final year of my History Degree, a sub warden of Sentinel Towers and the Politics and Government Careers Intern of the School of History , I feel I’m the best position I’ve ever been in to help shed some light on this over my next two blog posts.
As someone who joined 7 societies in my 1st year, I would really emphasise the value that can be added from getting involved with societies. LUU societies are invariably very welcoming and will take on members at any time in the year. The easiest way of finding out whether a society is right for you is by going to society GIAGs which tend to take place from late September to October.
Not only are societies full of very enthused fellow students, they also tend to host weekly socials providing a great format for making long-term friends or even meeting future housemates. Societies add variety to your lifestyle and each society will appeal to a different part of your personality. For instance, I’ve enjoyed participating within Leeds RAG to help contribute towards charitable causes in tandem with being a member of the Skydiving society to have some outdoor adrenaline to boot.
If your concerned that you may not have enough time to get involved with societies, I would recommend seeing societies as having long-term benefits as well. Employers are often just as interested in the extra-curricular activities of students as they are with the degree they are studying. Moreover, if you get enthused enough with a certain society, you may find yourself getting elected as a committee member for the year ahead where you help progress the society further.
In terms of academic performance, I think it’s very much about controlling the way in which you perceive your degree. If you prepare for essays and exams in advance, you will lessen any potential stress thereby allowing you to appreciate your reading more. This sounds obvious, but the threat of procrastination increases at university as your lifestyle has less structure than at school and social media will become more active than ever before. I’m still at war with procrastination myself! I have found though that reading History within university libraries helps create a better working environment. Added to this, an app called “StayFocusd” can be installed to control your browsing activities in advance.
Worried about which modules to join in 2nd year? Joining HistSoc provides a platform for meeting fellow Leeds historians across the years, something which can’t be taken for granted as the small number of contact hours in a History degree reduces your likelihood of meeting other History students with whom you really get along.
Career path/ employability? Two avenues of support here: the Leeds University Careers Centre and the School of History career interns. Through the careers centre you can get 1-to-1 appointments on career advice for free and you can book on to graduate recruiter presentations/ careers fairs. In doing so, you can meet potential employers first-hand from the likes of TeachFirst (very popular with History students) to Accenture.
In terms of the History career interns, we have an intern for each different theme of career path. I cover the Politics and Government sector. In practice, as someone who had 3 part-time jobs in their 2nd year and underwent a year placement last year with a FTSE 100 company, I will happily entertain any questions you may have towards employability. It’s never too early to start thinking about your career path. The earlier you embrace the challenge, the better.
For any questions you guys might have at all, please feel free to get in touch with myself through Facebook or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m more than happy to help fellow students make the most of their time at Leeds!