university library

Making the most out of university

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now

– Chinese Proverb

I’m a university student doing a degree with a less than clear career progression. When you do a Law degree or a degree in Accountancy there is a pretty clear idea of where you could end up. When you do an Arts based degree, that’s when things start to get fuzzy.

I am entirely aware of this…

And so I’m trying to make the most out of my time at university so that when I leave I’ll be prepared and be in the best possible position to move into a range of things. Whether it’s arts-based or not.

I’ve discussed this with a few friends and so I thought I’d write it and explain my rationale better. It doesn’t matter if you’re at university now, in a few years or a few years ago. Relatively, the concepts should be universal and applicable – I’ll try to give some actionable steps towards the end as well!

The Goal

I’m trying to engage with my university in a way most students don’t. 

I’m trying to take on extra things that do three things simultaneously:

  • Benefit me (making money)
  • Interest me (helps me learn or just for fun) 
  • Help me to pad out a CV (learning skills or proving responsibility)

One of the ways that I’m doing this is by being an Ambassador for the university. This is a paid role that generally has you engaging with prospective students. Depending on the duties you do this can be anywhere from administrative tasks to aiding staff members, giving information to parents and much more! 

I’m also engaging in a coaching scheme, a penpal scheme (purely for the fun of it) and panels representing the student voice for the university. While none of these are paid, they keep my weeks varied and are all great things to write onto a CV and give me experience engaging with a variety of people.

Why I’m doing this – my rationale

I don’t think I’ll have made the best of my time at university if I just come out of it with a degree.

Well, the purpose of university is to get a degree!

I hear you say…

Might I propose an alternative: a 2:1 degree, a fullish CV and a range of other projects that are active and either make money or will aid with career development.

I’d rather have the above, than just a 1st class degree and nothing else to show for my time at university. I see university as an opportunity to set myself up for life while reducing the risk of doing so.


The main project that I’m working on actually has nothing to do with university or my course at all. It is purely the freedom that I have while at university, the time and the weight that has not yet been dropped onto my shoulders that allows me to work on this project. 

What is this project? You ask…

This website! 

It has been a goal of mine for many years to have a website where I can voice my thoughts and attempt to have a positive impact on people’s lives. I thought while I was at university would be the best time! While university does get busy with reading and writing, this is an entirely different writing/research style. But ultimately, should help with honing my skills!

It is after all – critical thinking (that weird sounding thing, that is basically just conscious and in-depth thought)


How can you make the most out of your time at university?

I implore you – make the most of your time at university. 

That way, it doesn’t matter what university you are at… The idea that universities are more prestigious than others is pathetic. Yes, some are harder to get into… Yes, some will have far greater teaching than others… However, the pure amount of knowledge available at any university and even the internet is far beyond what one person can learn. The opportunities are there, I’ve just come to realise they are hiding most of the time.

  • Work so that you can travel abroad
  • Join societies (or create new ones!)
  • Become an academic rep.
  • Get drunk more times than you should (so you don’t do it when you’re older!)
  • Play sports
  • Put on productions
  • Make a company with friends
  • Get a job, or three!
  • Stay at university and do a masters
  • Read as many books from the library

Start it now and you’ll go far. 

If you’re at university then you have a place to live.

Chances are you aren’t working full time or have children to look after (if you do, then things are just a bit trickier, but definitely not different!)

This means that you have the freedom to take risks now – ultimately you’re risking nothing albeit some of your time (which chances are you currently just drink away)

Later in life, you’ll have less time to do it.  So do it now!

How to apply this if you’ve left university

Some of these can be applied if you’ve left university.

  • Join groups and communities around you that learn languages or go on pub crawls to meet new people and learn new skills.
  • Get a library card and read as many books as possible (or buy a Kindle and get ebooks cheap!)
  • Team up with friends to create a business. ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far – go together’ –  African Proverb

I hope you’ve found this post useful. I truly think that there is a lot you can do to make the most out of your time at university. I’ve tried to keep this relatively general, for it ultimately depends on your course, career prospects, country and university. I tend to find that if you ask your lecturers/professors and ask them… there are lots of opportunities hiding and waiting to be discovered.

About the author


Welcome! I'm Joseph. I'm trying to be a writer! While I could dabble at poetry, attempt and fail at a novel or two or even become an essayist Y'know these are all things I actually want to do... Anyway, that's beside the point. I want to hone my writing, explore my curiosity and share all the wonders of the world that I find with you!

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