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Students: Make This Your Best University Semester Yet

Calling all universities and lecturers out there! If you’re reading this article, we suggest that you share it with your students to inspire them for the coming semester. You never know, it might make your own semester run a bit smoother too.

Plan ahead

First off, even if you love a classic student wall planner or physical diary, we recommend that you also use an app such as Google Calendar. This way you’ll always know where you are and what’s coming up – just make sure to add updates to each format you use, which is much easier if it’s a maximum of two.

Secondly, put everything in your planner as soon as you find out about it. Obviously you’ll add things like essay deadlines, exam dates and so on, but it also helps if you include social events, fitness sessions, time with friends and family, even things like dentist appointments and haircuts. As a university student you have a lot on your plate, so logging it all in a calendar helps you to stay on top of things whilst removing the risk of double-booking.

Final tip for this section, if you’re using a digital planner, make the most of any features it may have. For instance, different colours for categories such as lectures, deadlines, socials and sports can make everything super clear. Also, set pop-ups to a timeframe that works for you – receiving a notification fifteen minutes before an event when you live twenty minutes from the campus isn’t going to do you any favours.

Look after your body and mind

Student living is awesome, isn’t it? Takeaways with friends, plenty of social events, lots of late nights and as few early mornings as you can manage. It’s fun, we get it, we’ve been there ourselves, and that’s why we understand the toll it can take on your physical and mental wellbeing.

We’re not saying you should become a teetotal hermit who eats nothing but quinoa (unless you want to be), but you need the self-awareness to know when you require more sleep, healthier food, better exercise and prolonged fresh air, combined with the self-discipline to put it into effect. This will ensure that you don’t burn out and can enjoy partying alongside a productive learning journey.

Grow up a bit

We don’t mean this in a patronising way, it’s just that it’s very easy to live like a student even after you leave uni. For instance, some graduates still rely on their parents for everything from money to mealtimes – this dependency can always be lessened in some way, from getting a part-time job, to offering to cook meals for the family.

As for you, you’re still at university and most likely live in student accommodation; if this is the case, start adopting good habits that you know you’ll need in later life, such as maintaining a clean home, always paying bills on time, checking the post instead of putting it to one side, and investing time into seeking out interesting opportunities that will aid your continuous personal development.

Work on your personal brand

This is an interesting one that you might not have expected, yet it’s very important. Your personal brand is how you market yourself to potential employers and evolves constantly. It may sound a bit corporate but it covers all aspects of your individuality, from your academic achievements, to membership of any societies and sports clubs, volunteering or charity work you’ve done, causes that you’re passionate about, enriching pastimes, and anything else that you feel sums up who you are.

In terms of conveying your personal brand, this can include multiple platforms, such as your CV, social media activity, LinkedIn profile, business cards, a personal blog or website, testimonials and references, and a network of people who can support you when the time comes. That last one is tailored around your activity – your lecturers and any previous employers are key members of your network, plus you should get to know your university’s careers advisors, reach out to potential mentors, and try to meet up with members of the community (business or otherwise) who you think can offer invaluable knowledge and guidance. By getting your personal brand up to scratch, you’ll find that post-university life becomes a whole lot smoother.

Get in touch

We’re here to help schools, colleges and universities to get the most out of their marketing, benefitting teachers and students alike. To find out more, get in touch at hello@bigpinkfish.com or call us on 0161 507 3365.

From University to Teacher Training

Moving on from university to the big world of work is often a serious step up and change of pace. There are exciting challenges, fresh opportunities and new anxieties. However, it’s important for the future workforce’s new trainers and employers to minimise the shock of this significant change. Doing this well can increase the morale of new employees, ease their transition and aid their development. Doing it badly can be damaging for both employee and employer.

Against a background of unprecedented hiring difficulties and high drop-out rates, these are important considerations to make. Training providers need to focus on making the transition from university to teacher training as smooth and straightforward as possible.

From education to vocation

On entering an Independent Teacher Training programme, most trainees coming straight from university will have had a long history of mostly theory-based education, where the objective is to familiarise oneself with a subject in the abstract. Moving from this kind of education to vocational training involves a change in working structure and objectives that can throw off even the smartest student-turned-trainee. Training aimed at understanding how to apply techniques in order to fulfil a new role can be a very new experience. Support in the new modes of learning and working involved in this can be valuable to the trainee, ensuring that they begin to realise their full capability as quickly as possible.

Useful and accessible mentoring programmes oriented around the personal, as well as the professional, needs of trainees can make all the difference in this stage. It can help people have a reference point for these new and unusual challenges, as well as a go-to guy or gal for the unique problems and questions that aren’t covered elsewhere.

Step changes and stress

The other major change is the increased level of stress that many new trainees, fresh from the potentially relaxed schedules of university, experience. No matter how supportive school centred training providers are, there will always be an initial shock of anxiety, but it can be minimised.

Having an individual to talk to on a personal level at work can help here; sharing issues of stress and anxiety can be cathartic, as well as aiding resolution. In structural terms, there are well developed ways of incorporating stress relieving techniques into work environments, such as teaching in a constructive way. Many of them are well documented online both formally and informally. These include mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and classic relaxation techniques, such as moments of quiet during a busy and noisy schedule. All of these help the trainee to feel and perform better, thereby aiding the institution.