University – the sneaky approach to learning

So, I have finished. Four years and it all finished with an Econometrics exam. What a cracking way to finish…..

For me University was just the next step- I didn’t know what else to do so I thought I’d go. I chose to do a subject I enjoyed at A level and chose my University based on the city – there was little thought of job prospects, earnings or future. Watching the A level results come out this year I think I might be a dying breed (this is by no means a bad thing!) Students seem to be in tune with what grades they need, which University they want to get into and in which direction they want their life to go. In hindsight, I feel like I took the tumbling approach – wherever I tumbled I went with- it has worked so far!

University for me was brilliant. I loved it. I studied Economics and International Relations (IR) and the mix of subjects was great (even though IR will never be my strongest subject). I did, at one point, consider changing to straight Economics but was advised that, as long as I choose to take more mathematical modules, I’d be fine. So I did and these were, by far, my best modules.

It was during my second year that I started to think a little bit about jobs. I realised experience as a waitress isn’t going to get you far and decided to do a placement year. There was also the added bonus that doing a placement year meant another year at University. It was whilst I was doing my placement year that I started to think about teaching. My placement was with the Economics Network so focused on education at University level. The idea of working for a big corporate firm in business suits and pointy shoes was not my idea of fun. So I went into my final year set on the idea of being a teacher.

I went back to my old school and decided that teaching was indeed for me and that maths was the subject. So, I applied and I start my course in the next few weeks- exciting times!

It is only when I look back at my degree that I can see how well prepared for future life I now am. I have never been a reflective person and, at University, I took each day as it came; did the coursework, attended lectures and really enjoyed myself. I didn’t think about why I was learning, I just did it. I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but I have learnt a lot. Not only in terms of course content but also in other aspects – teamwork, individual time management, delegation – all skills that are incredibly useful at work. It is almost as if my University were sneaky and taught me skills without making them obvious. And this was by far the best way to do it, if there had been a seminar on employability skills I doubt I would’ve attended, considering the lunchtime showing of neighbours more important.

University gave me four brilliant years as well as a degree. I’ve made decisions about my future without really realising it and I am excited about it. I’m amazed at where my friends have gone; PhD’s, jobs in the city, big firms and I just remember the nights out, the mooching, the wasted days. Maybe there is a lot more to University then meets the eye…..