How To Gain Valuable Experience At University

Attending University is a great opportunity to make friends, learn and build your CV.

Depending on the course that you decide to take you may have a significant chunk of spare time at your disposal whilst you’re studying at University.

Most full-time degree courses require you to spend between 35-40 hours each week studying, similar to the time that you would have to dedicate to a full-time job. This time will be made up of lectures, ‘contact hours’ (time spent 1-on-1 with your personal tutor) and personal study time. As much as it’s fun to make new friends and go out when you’re a student, your studies should always be your top priority whilst you’re at University.

Taking this into account, you’ll have 5 evenings and 2 full days on the weekend to make use of for extra-curricular activities. It’s a good idea to use this time wisely and consider that how you spend your time outside of study hours will reflect on your CV come the end of your degree.

With this in mind I’ve put together a few ideas of where to pick up some valuable experience so that you can leave university with more than just your degree certificate:

Run for a position in a club or society

Every university has a bevy of societies and clubs that you can join which gives you the opportunity to try out a new experience, or continue a skill or hobby that you already have. Clubs range from Amateur Dramatics to Chess, to Medieval Re-enactment to Skydiving; regardless of the society that you join you’ll be able to apply to take an administrative role within the society. Whether you’re the Social Secretary, Treasurer or President this kind of experience shows would-be employers that you’re keen to take on responsibility and that you’re a social person.

Get a job for the summer

Your university days will be the last years of your life when you get a full Summer holiday – don’t take that for granted! The 12-14 weeks that you have at your disposal each summer should be used wisely, it’s the perfect time to pick up a job and earn some much needed cash.

Customer service jobs are usually the easiest to pick up for this stretch of a time and if you do a good job then you’ll be able to return throughout the years.

Pick up casual work in term-time

There are always a few odd jobs going during term-time that can add value to your CV in the long run. Often your university’s career hub will regularly post part-time jobs which can vary from taking part in a psychological study to helping out showing prospective students around your campus.

Keep an eye out on regular job sites using the ‘Part Time’ filter to see if there are any other opportunities – you could find useful experience marketing to college students or working in a call centre.

Volunteer in your spare time

Dedicating a portion of your time to a good cause is a great way of meeting like-minded individuals and also adds another dimension to your CV. Depending on the charity that you choose to help out you could be driving subscriptions on the street, knocking on doors to raise awareness or even working ‘out in the field’. Always make sure that the charity that you’re helping is legitimate and be wary of working for private firms that focus on ‘making sales’.


Jackie Li is an architect and writer who focuses on offering advice to prospective and current students. She’s passionate about her work and loves to help graduates find work post-uni.

Five Simple Steps To Getting Fit

Are you looking to get fit?

As a student currently in the throes of a challenging Masters course I’m acutely aware of my fitness starting to suffer.

I’m a very single-minded person, meaning that I tend to only focus on one thing at any given time. As far as I’m aware, I’m the only one of my friends who’s like this and if I’m honest it gets to me from time to time. I’m part of a very active group of individuals, we all exercise and we all try to eat healthily, but whenever I have a big load of course work to get done my fitness automatically gets put to the wayside and I find myself indulging in all the wrong foods and spending all of my spare time holed up in the library, instead of exercising.

I don’t need to weigh myself to know that my fitness level is dropping, my energy levels begin to drop earlier in the day and I find that my mood begins to suffer as a result too. Thankfully, I’ve got plenty of friends studying Sports Science qualifications who can help me out and after recently getting ‘back on the horse’, so to speak, I thought I’d share how I was able to regain my fitness. This is a very general guide that should be able to be applied to all kinds of people, regardless of your current fitness level or experience. Before we jump into it I want to just remind you that everyone is different, we all have different thresholds and it’s really important not to rush into a lifestyle change without a bit of caution.

Get motivated


You can’t get fit without the motivation to do so. If getting fit is more of a vague dream rather than a concrete goal then you’ll likely not stick to your plan and soon return to your old habits. In order for change to occur you must want the change to happen. Making your fitness a priority is a key part of this journey, if you don’t value your fitness highly enough then you simply won’t succeed.

Set yourself a target

Having a target in place is absolutely key in getting fit. A clear defined goal helps to keep you focused and allows you  to track your progress. Whereas many people still choose to use their weight as a metric I’d warn against using it as a goal. Being lighter on your feet does not necessarily equate to being more fit. Your goal should be performance based – so you could time yourself jogging round a park and then set a target of beating that time in the course of the next month.

Make an exercise and nutrition plan

A structured plan is key to you making progress. Try and get the help of a fitness professional when putting it together as it’s really important that your plan reflects your current capabilities, as well as taking into account your lifestyle and how much time you have to commit to getting fit. You’ll also need a rough nutrition plan which might mean making a food diary of your current intake. If you’re going to be exerting yourself more then you might find that you need to be eating more to fuel this exertion, just make sure that you’re eating more of the right food.

Get stuck in but stay grounded

Once you have your plan then you’re ready to go! This is the fun part, with the right motivation, a structured plan and a goal in place you have everything you need to get fit but don’t let your new fitness plan completely absorb your life. You’re only human, so you should pay attention to what your body needs and have the flexibility to adapt your plan should you need to, depending on your calendar, budget and how your body is responding to your new regiment.

Assess your progress and re-evaluate

Once you’ve reached your target it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate how far you’ve come and where you want to go next. You might be happy continuing your current plan or you might have an even bigger ambition, only time will tell and only you will have the answers.

Best of luck!


Jess Fullwood is a contributor to Young People In Focus and Social Sciences student, her work mainly involves how the causal link between 21st Century Technology and modern day relationships.

Body Dysmorhphia

Body Dysmorphia is a mental health issue associated in the public’s mind with women rather than men…

…this comes as little surprise when you think about the societal expectations that have been put on each gender over the last decades.

Those expectations have slowly been changing though and as a result men and women are now subject to a much wider range of social pressures ranging from cultural expectations to how they should conduct their relationships, to how their bodies should look and how they should dress.

The way that we perceive our culture has changed irrevocably over the last century. Just take a look at this photo from the 19th Century:

These men are certainly stylish, but there’s a great deal of similarity between what they’re wearing. At this point in time society expected the individual to conform to the norms and individuals wanted to do so. In order to fit in with society and avoid vilification the individual had to sacrifice a certain amount of autonomy and personal choice – but once they had to so they could be considered a part of the wider society. This wide-reaching cultural identity was enforced through interpersonal connections and persisted due to the lack of social mobility that existed at the time.

Flash forward to the 21st century and it’s clear that things have changed somewhat. Take a look at this photo:

Today people of all different walks of life mingle and present themselves in whatever way their own culture dictates. Thanks to globalisation and the growing influence that the internet has on us we are no longer expected to conform to a specific fashion or style, how we choose to present ourselves is completely dependant on the complex set of social rules that are dictated by our upbringing, our perceived social ranking and our own cultural preference, to name a few.

By enveloping ourselves in our personal cultural bubbles we have become more susceptible than ever to developing psychological issues that affect how we choose to lead our lives from the clothes we wear to the food we eat and how we spend our spare time. The insular nature of technology is pervasive and subtle at the same time, many people do not consider the effect that it has on them and allow their minds to be freely manipulated by the whims of social pressures which has led to a rise in Body Dysmorphia in both men and women across all ages.

People are growing increasingly uncomfortable with their bodies and, unfortunately, this discomfort does not remain internalised. Men and women are now acting upon their compulsions. Breast enlargement/enhancement surgery is at an all time high, as well as minor surgeries such as botox fillers and it’s not just women who are going under the knife in order to readjust their image. In a recent study it was found that the prevalence of Body Dysmorphia is actually higher in men than it is in women.

‘Bigorexia’ is the new term given to men who believe themselves to not be large enough and it’s a condition that is starting to pick up steam without any sign of slowing…


Jacob Meyersmith is the site editor for Young People In Focus who works as a freelance web developer, he’s a self-confessed nerd who likes to keep one eye on societal shifts.

Getting REAL FaceTime

Human’s are very adaptable creatures.

Regardless of how smart or stupid you might think you are, your brain is an incredible piece of hardware that performs hundreds of microscopic decisions each and every second.

We often think that taking shortcuts is a bad thing, we associate this habit with negative traits such as laziness, but in reality our brains are constantly looking for ways to cut corners, economise on power and achieve tasks with the smallest amount of effort possible.

In most cases this is a good thing. When we are learning new skills our brains work in overdrive to get to grips with any new motor functions and try their best to catalogue this information effectively so that you can perform the task better next time. This is ideal when we are approaching practical tasks such as those associated with childcare or home maintenance; many of these tasks will need to be repeated countless times in the course of your life, so it makes sense for your brain to make each of these processes as efficient as possible.

This means that whenever you approach a task, such as washing the dishes or changing your child’s nappy, you can get the job done without putting any thought into the action at all – as if you were on auto-pilot. This allows you to get what you need done with the minimum fuss, whilst giving your brain a chance to plan more future actions; great news if you have a busy schedule with loads of different things to do.

Computers and mobile phones have allowed us to ostensibly get even more done at the same time, they’re a multi-tasker’s dream and our brains have quickly adapted to using them in almost every facet of our day-to-day lives. We use them to plan our holidays, shop for groceries, discover new music and (perhaps most importantly) keep in touch with our friends and families. Whilst the proliferation of technology has allowed us to become a lot more efficient in our day-to-day lives, our clever brains have been given access to technology that has effectively streamlined how we approach our entire lives – perfect for household chores, but perhaps not so good for our social lives…

Several pieces of research have found that the use of online communications, specifically social media accounts, can have a negative impact on how we conduct our real-life relationships. Plenty of research from all over the globe points to how regular use of social media can damage relationships; this issue goes beyond our romantic relationships and encompasses how we conduct relationships with all of our friends and family.

If you’re reading this and are thinking that this doesn’t apply to you, then it might be worth taking a good honest look at your relationships and consider how many of those rely on social media – you might find that your brain has made some shortcuts that you were unaware of…


Jess Fullwood is a contributor to Young People In Focus and Social Sciences student, her work mainly involves how the causal link between 21st Century Technology and modern day relationships.