The start of term is just a few weeks away. You’re coming to Leicester to study and hopefully get a good degree. But actually there’s a lot more to do here than just go to lectures and write essays. I would really recommend every Leicester student to get involved with some extracurricular activities while they’re here. There are so many things you can do so it’d be silly not to really. And you won’t find many of these opportunities once you graduate and leave university, so I suggest trying to make the most of these three (or four) years by doing something alongside your studying! I know that a heavy workload can put students off doing anything extracurricular, but History of Art students usually don’t have more than ten hours of contact time per week. I’ve had a lot of boring, uneventful days sitting around waiting for classes, so doing something extra alongside your studies is a really good way to fill your free time. And the things I’m about to suggest shouldn’t jeopardise your academic career at all! In fact, they should enhance it, if anything.
So what can you do exactly?! The first thing I’d recommend is to apply for a position as Student Ambassador. I applied twice but didn’t make it past the interview stage unfortunately. It’s a really flexible job so you can work part-time whenever you want and earn money without having to worry about neglecting your studies. Leading campus tours is the main thing that you’d be doing as a Student Ambassador.
When I was in my second year I became a Telephone Fundraising Ambassador, which I’d also recommend getting involved in. It’s a temporary job, I think it lasted for about six weeks, that I found on Unitemps. Basically what I did was call up the parents of current students and alumni and encourage them to donate towards the university’s fundraising campaign – raising funds for the new medical centre. It’s a job that requires a fair bit of confidence and it can be difficult at times because some people aren’t interested in having a chat. But the pay is decent and I learned so much doing it. And I had a few really great and memorable conversations with some lovely people.
Another role I took on in second year was Course Representative. Basically you represent everyone in your year studying the same degree course as you and attend student-staff committee meetings. These meetings allow you to raise any issues relating to your course with members of staff in the department and suggest ways of improving your studies. I really enjoyed being a Course Rep and I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in making a difference.
Now I’m in my final year I’ve become Secretary for the Erasmus and Exchange Society. Running a society is something I’d recommend because it’s a really fulfilling experience and also pretty good for your social life! ULEES in particular is such a fun society to be a part of because we organise loads of trips, events and socials for international (and home) students. International welcome week is one of our busiest times of the year so the next few weeks are going to be a bit hectic for me. Having just come back from my year abroad in Pisa I know how daunting it can be moving to a new country. So I’m eager to work for a society that helps international students feel more at ease during their stay at Leicester.
There’s obviously a lot more to do at Leicester that I haven’t mentioned. You can play in a sports team, work part-time in the Students’ Union, do some charity work and volunteer work… and loads more.
So! To conclude! Try and make the most of being a university student while you can. Obviously studying is the most important thing at university, and you shouldn’t get involved with anything that’s going to have a negative affect on your studies, but it’s not all Leicester has to offer!! At the end of the day, extracurricular stuff doesn’t do any harm on your CV.