How to make the most out of your student experience

Leave your mark: Take advantage of the opportunities you have whilst at university and get involved. Source: Gair Rhydd via Cardiff Student Media

By Katie Lewis

There are so many opportunities for you to make your mark whilst at Cardiff University, that it seems a waste not to take them. If you’re in your last year, you might think that it’s too late for you to get involved in university activities, but far from it. There is a whole host of opportunities to improve your employability whilst you’re still a student, and here are just a few of them.

Firstly, a great way to gain work experience that won’t jeopardise your study time is to take advantage of the universities volunteering projects. There are a variety of volunteering opportunities including policing (Police Student Volunteers), looking after animals (Puppy Power or Petting Zoo) and supporting the elderly who suffer with dementia (Side by Side). There are also many volunteering opportunities in schools and after school clubs, which are perfect if you are striving for a PGCE or any other teaching qualification. Most of the projects run all throughout the year, and you can join at any time. So, if you want to enhance your CV whilst gaining new skills and experience, look at the Cardiff Volunteering page on the Students Union website for more information.

Are you passionate about social issues? If you are, did you know you could possibly start-up your own campaign by talking to a campaigns officer? Or, if there is an existing campaign that is close to your heart, you can volunteer to help with events to raise awareness of issues including mental health and gender equality. You can contact different campaign officers through the Students Union website and join campaigning events such as Mind your Head week and Stand with LGBT+. Campaigning for a cause would make an impressive addition to your CV as well as making for a very rewarding extra-curricular activity.

If you’re going to be enrolled at university for another academic year, it’s not too late to get involved in the 2019 Spring Elections. This is the perfect opportunity for those of you who feel that you can have a positive impact on the lives of other students at Cardiff University. However, you will have to act fast to apply in time to become either a full-time elected officer or a campaign officer. Nominations for these positions close at noon on the 5th of February, so apply quickly for your chance to be elected for the following academic year. Likewise, if you simply want to be more involved in the politics of the student officer elections, voting opens on the 25th of February, so be sure to research the candidates and cast your vote. Take advantage of the democracy of the Students Union elections and help to influence positive change in the student community.

If you have an entrepreneurial streak, or have business idea, you should take advantage of the support that Enterprise provides for students. Not only do they support students with their ideas, but they also help them to become more employable people and encourage creativity and innovation. Enterprise are running events throughout the rest of the year, starting with introductory meetings and following with more in-depth lessons about the start-up process with guest lectures from experienced entrepreneurs. For a full line up of the events that Enterprise are offering, check the Students Union website or pop into the office on the 2nd floor of the SU.

So, if you find yourself with some free time this semester, instead of starting a new Netflix series, why not sign up for an extra-curricular activity. Whether you dedicate 2 or 20 hours a week, you can graduate knowing that you left a positive impact on the university and the students in it.

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