The university bucket list
The long class hours and exhausting assignment deadlines can often make you lose sight of the big picture- that is, the life after graduation. Whether you're opting for a masters degree or want to join the workforce, a few steps during university can give you the extra edge you need to attain your long term goals.
Try maintaining a high CGPA
While many of you will roll your eyes and say that “grades don't define you”, a high CGPA will definitely come in handy, especially if you want to apply for a master's program. Remember, universities don't personally know you and your CGPA is one of their only tools to assess your skills. Alternatively, if you're hitting the job market as a fresh graduate, you'd be competing with plenty of people from different walks of life, many of whom are more experienced than you. A good CGPA can show employers that you are qualified and you're able to learn. Here's a tip to get a head start, don't start the assignment at 3 am the day before your deadline!
Join a club
What better place to get to know your university than a club of your choice! Whether it is to learn more about your field or try out new hobbies, clubs are a great way to get to know your seniors and work with a diverse group of people. Through a series of unique challenges, clubs push you out of your comfort zone and help you become a better performer under stress, honing your leadership and communication skills in the process. Chances are, you won't get along with every single person in the club and there will be a lot of club politics. However, setting differences aside to work together for a single objective is just one of those real world skills that aren't taught in classrooms. The bright side is that it's not all stressful work. Clubs often host events and parties that can help you de-stress when the university workload gets excruciatingly difficult. So, be sure to hit the club fair next semester.
Participate in competitions
To stand out in your field, two skills are highly important - problem solving and leadership. Employers are constantly searching for these qualities among fresh graduates and the best way to hone such skills is to participate in competitions. You don't have to limit yourself to just your field. Be it business competitions from corporate giants or programming contests sponsored by tech companies, each competition would provide you with a unique set of problems to challenge yourself. Of course, what's better than participating is actually winning a competition! Not only do you get bragging rights, but it tells your future employers that you're a keen problem solver and that they can count on you to have a proactive attitude at the workplace.
Find a teacher you look up to
Over the four years, you are bound to meet plenty of individuals who will inspire you and drive you towards your goals. Your teachers are not only highly talented in their respective fields but probably have exciting research that you could be involved in or industry connections that can help you get ahead. In fact, they might be able to give you helpful insight regarding your future careers. So, don't hesitate. Make it a habit of talking to your teachers and finding out about their professional interests.
Get an internship (or part-time work)
For many students, internships are basically a requirement to graduate university. Even if internships aren't compulsory in your coursework, do try to get some work experience while you're still at university. Remember that meme where employers want fresh graduates to have ten years of work experience? Well, it's not entirely a myth. Employers do appreciate some sort of work experience. Not only does internships and part-time work look good on your resume, they prepare you for the real world out there, providing you with opportunities to lead, network and learn along the way. If your boss likes you, you can surely expect a good recommendation from him or her.