Since there’s such a lot of different activities that you can get involved in at University, I thought it would be a good idea to give you some advice on what I think are the most beneficial.
A big part of University life is the social side, which includes societies and sports clubs – of which there are many! But I’m not going to recommend that you join on society or the other, because everyone has their own interests and ideas about what’s fun to do in their spare time. All I will say is that there is something for everyone at Leicester, and if something you really want to do isn’t available, then why not create the society yourself if you’ve got enough support for it? But that’s an entirely different topic, so I’ll get back to my point…
Rather than advise you on the social side, I’m going to talk about the academic activities that you can take part in that will help to boost your CV once you graduate. Employability is such key thing for students in a world where more people are getting degrees, because you need something extra to help you stand out. There are a number of things that the University offer than can help you to stand out from the crowd and you don’t have to know specifically what you want to do after you graduate to take part in them!
Most of the things I’m going to talk about are general, but there are a few things that are linked specifically to the History department, so if you’re thinking about studying History they are the sort of things you could expect to be on offer. So here they are…
1. The Leicester Award: To quote directly from the University website, the Leicester Award is ‘a personal skills development programme which recognises and adds value to the activities you engage with outside your degree’. There are a range of different accredited activities that you can do depending on your interests or potential career plans. But even if you don’t know what you want to do, the Award will help you to shape a more clear idea of your career and get skills, such as self reflection and critical analysis that will benefit you in application or interview processes you may undertake in the future. To read more about the Leicester Award click here.
2. Student Ambassador: If you’ve been to one of the University’s Open Days before you’ll know the ambassadors as the ones in the red jumpers! But if you haven’t, the student ambassadors here at Leicester are the face of the University on the days when we have potential students coming to visit. Becoming a student ambassador is an opportunity offered to students from all degree subjects and is a great way to build your confidence and develop those all important customer service and communication skills that many jobs will require you to have. It’s also a great way to meet new people, from different years and different courses!
3. Career Development Service: Take advantage of the great Careers Service that we have at the University as they can help you find out exactly where you are and how you can get to where you want to be. The MyCareers site which is available for students has a range of volunteering and work experience opportunities that can help you to boost your skills and find out what you really want to do. The Service also offer one-on-one advice sessions to help you to think about your future career, or if you already know what you want do, they can help to find out the skills that you need and how you can get them.
4. School of Historical Studies Internship: So this is where I’m going onto the more subject specific activities that you can take part in. The History Department offer a number of internships that allow to experience different aspects of the discipline depending on where your interests lie. There is an application and an interview process to go through, so even this aspect gives you good experience! These internships would also be a particularly good opportunity if you want to go into academia, as many offer the experience of researching, cataloguing and digitalising documents.
5. Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Study: The Centre is staffed by student volunteers, who look after the books within it that, as you can tell by it’s name, are all related to the Holocaust and Genocide. Volunteers are expected to help preserve and catalogue the books and primary sources that are kept within the centre, so this role would again be suited to someone who is interested in academia or archival work. It would also be a good role to undertake if you are interested in this period, particularly if it something that you think you may want to write a dissertation on (you have to think ahead on these things!) because you will have access to wealth of sources, many that are not in the University library.
The main thing that you should take way from this post is that there are so many things that you can do here at the University – more than I have written here, and more as well for different subjects! My advice would be to put yourself out of your comfort zone and experience as many thing as you can.
Make sure you come out of University with more than just a degree, make you come out with real experience that ail put you ahead of the rest.