It’s been about a year since I sat my final university exams, and the time has flown by! So, I thought I’d put together a list of the things I have learned since I left the university bubble and entered the world of work.
You really can do anything with a degree in languages.
If anyone had told me during my time at university that I would end up with a job in Financial Services Recruitment Operations, I would have cried with laughter. How could I possibly do anything Financial Services related without a background in Economics!?
Yet, here I am. And the most surprising thing, I still use my languages. I’ve written some business development emails in French, called a Swiss company, researched foreign companies whose websites were in their native language and helped colleagues translate emails they’d received in various languages into English.
Grades aren’t as important as you think they are.
Lots of people stress about getting a first (me included) and I berated myself for not quite reaching the coveted 70%, but, honestly, no one has batted an eyelid at my 2:1.
Employers ask for a 2:1. That’s it. After that you need relevant work experience, a good set of soft skills, and an attitude that fits with the company’s culture.
Even then, the grade isn’t the most important thing. If you can balance a 2:2 with experience and enthusiasm, you’ll still go far.
If you can avoid the central line in rush hour, do.
Or just avoid it in general. You can thank me later. My commute takes 10 minutes longer without it, but it’s less packed and there’s aircon the whole way, which is a blessing.
You probably won’t miss the long holidays.
I personally don’t miss the 5-or-so months of holiday I used to have at university. I much prefer being able to pick and choose when I take time off! That said, Bank Holidays are a dream. I used to take them for granted because they would only result in a couple of university lectures being cancelled and I almost definitely had essays to write or lectures to prepare for. Now, it’s a whole day off. No assignments, nothing. The day is mine for the taking!
5 minutes is a long time in London.
It’s long enough to go two or even maybe three tube stops. It takes about 5 minutes to walk between most (but not all) tube stops. It’s enough time for two trains of commuters to empty and congregate on a single platform, waiting for their connection (Mile End, I’m looking at you). You can send a few emails in 5 minutes, or make a phone call. 5 minutes is a long time. Use them wisely.
Plan for unplanned expenses.
There will always be an unplanned expense. Always. You will decide to take that trip. Your phone will break. You’ll go for a spontaneous dinner with friends, or out for drinks with work. You’ll see a dress in a shop window that just can’t wait until payday. Your pet will need to go to the vet. The boiler will break. Your leather Oxford shoes will wear out and you’ll be left with a hole in the sole, and possibly your wallet. So, plan for it now. I have learned that if I factor unplanned expenses into my budget, I have more leeway when things do crop up!
Get office supplies delivered to the office.
I recently made the rookie mistake of forgetting to change the delivery address when ordering supplies from Amazon. They were delivered to my house instead, and I now have the challenge of commuting with office stock during rush hour. WELL DONE ME. Won’t be doing that again!
Charlotte Robinson, Administrator