You mean, I have to go and work now?

Careers Ambassador, Meg has written this blog about transitioning from university to the working world.

When we’re at University, all we can think about is studying, partying, socialising etc. But what happens next?

We are often, seemingly, thrown out in the working world and are totally unprepared for the scenarios that we may encounter. Many of us complete our degree with minimal experience on life outside of University. This can leave searching for or beginning a new job a daunting experience indeed.

Work Experience as part of my studies

My name is Meg and I am a third year Vet Med student. As a requirement of my degree, I am expected to have completed a minimum of 38 weeks of EMS or placements. I hear you say, “yes, but you’ve got five years to do that. It can’t be that tough.” Well, the catch is that all of these requirements must be met IN OUR HOLIDAYS. No weekends. No Wednesday afternoons. No free days. Nada. I had 3 full weeks off in summer and that is it.

This might sound pretty awful, especially if you’re someone who enjoys living the high life, or just having some spare time. But, it made me realise that we all have a lot more time than we think we do to rack up experience and build up our CVs.

The thought of giving up my holidays was something that phased me a lot. I am originally from Sheffield, so it does mean that unfortunately, I don’t get to spend as much time with my family or friends. However, what it has given me, is oodles of skills and knowledge that, otherwise, I wouldn’t have had access to.

My stand-out placement

One placement that stands out in particular was at a small animal veterinary practice this summer. I went there having never done surgery, let alone led it, and for the first time ever, was considered and felt, like a member of the team. I was put in charge of the team (under the supervision of the vet), and successfully and safely completed over ten surgeries. And that is only one of my experiences.

With each placement, I find my confidence improving, along with my ability to work within a team and independently, to calmly handle unexpected situations, to push myself out of my comfort zone (if appropriate) and finally, to really develop my personal skills and knowledge.

Preparing to move on

So, if like me, you feel intimidated at the thought of moving onto a career from university, do not fear. Not only is there plenty of time and opportunities for you to gather experience and gain skills, but the Employability & Careers Centre (ECC) is also here if you need just a little bit of help or guidance. Now of course, you have to be ready to make the initial step, and once you have managed this, everything will suddenly seem clearer and more inviting.

Further help and articles

  • Book an information session on Surrey Pathfinder to find out how the ECC can help you, or just drop in
  • Find a summer internship or part time work by looking on Surrey Pathfinder
  • Read about Experience-boosting options for students and graduates here