How to Get the Most from Your Degree


From the eyes of a naively optimistic first year

As budding, spirited and talented young people graduate into an apocalyptic world of low employment and high competitiveness, the modern student is frequently reminded that having a degree just doesn’t cut it anymore.

So what else is there? I reflect on my first year (Humanities degree, it figures) to comment on what can enrich your degree, as well as your uni experience.

1)      Meet New People

This may seem a bit of a cliché, but it’s true. Starting uni can be a daunting experience, but meeting so many new different and friendly people is just what the doctor ordered for starting the next chapter of your life, as well as discovering more about yourself and generally making some great (if not slightly regretted) memories.

2)      The Bucket List

This is definitely a must-do; if you haven’t done one yet, it’s never too late to start! The idea is simple, yet genius: make a long list of crazy things to do with your flatmates/friends before your time is up. Some ideas to set you up may include: naked runs around a public place, swimming with the ducks on campus, and meeting celebrities.

bucket list
While a blank list may give a feeling of completion, it kind of defeats the point.

3)      Don’t Grow Up, Grow Down!

So you’ve technically reached adulthood, and of course you’ve had endless conversations with parents about the next steps in your life- but hold on a second there! University is the perfect setting for immaturity with minimal consequences! Past activities of equal recommendation and ridiculousness include mattress surfing (harder than it looks), hide and seek in the dark, room pranking (post-its notes required) and Nerf gun wars (other guns are available).


The embodiment of taking it too far...
The embodiment of taking it too far…

4)      Try  Something New Each Month

University is a great time for experimentation, especially in your first year (40% pass mark!), so why not take the challenge and try to fit in as many new things as possible- you never know, you may end up enjoying some of them! And the best part is, you can literally try anything- whether that be a daring new fashion statement, a different society (I hear pole dancing can be pretty fun), new types of music, or a different club/pub.


It was certainly a daring fashion statement...
It was certainly a daring fashion statement…

5)      Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

If you don’t try, you’ll never know. Something you may find embarrassing at first will probably be soon forgotten at Uni, so what do you have to lose? It may seem intimidating for a first year to join a society with lots of second, third and fourth years, but the chances are they super keen for new blood (though hopefully not in a vampire way). Before I started writing for the Wessex Scene, I was having visions of The Devil Wears Prada-style scenarios of people telling me I was awful, but a few months later  I have discovered everyone is really friendly and eager to help.

6)      Decide Your Own Destiny

OK, this is going to sound preachy but it’s so true- you really need to take control of your university experience if you want to get to where you want to go. There’s no such thing as being too early, so start looking for jobs, work experience, internships etc from your first year- yes, that’s right- first! No one is expecting you to be a complete workaholic at any point in you University life, but try to gain a couple of CV points every year, and the Future-You will be eternally grateful. Southampton Careers website has a great database of internships, as well as the graduate Passport and careers panels amongst many others.

Careers Destinations, Building 37

7)      Go Out- as Much as Possible!

This may seem a little contradictory to the previous point, but strangely enough the two can work in a sort of harmony… to some extent. Forgive me for using a cringe worthy and clichéd phrase, but sometimes you just have to put the YO to the LO. Student clubs (no names needed) are stupidly cheap, so take advantage while you can: Go forth and Conquer!


'The Palace of Dreams'
‘The Palace of Dreams’

8)      Make the Most of Uni Services

Again, another boring point, but nowhere enough students take advantage of our amazing services – the library, house contract checking, careers services, night line, societies, the gym – the whole shebang. We are all paying a lot of money, so it seems only fair that we have a few luxuries thrown in. Below are a few links to some of the Universities useful pages.

So, here are just a few of the many possible ways to get your money’s worth out of your time here at Southampton. Some points may be more attractive than others, but a balanced lifestyle is key for a full experience. If you have any other ideas, feel free to post them in comments below.



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