It’s funny how a new year has just begun, but important and endless things are worrying so many minds: the final year.
I see how students are rushing with their projects/dissertations, trying their best to make a good impression, to be recognised by their efforts and getting the so valuable diploma. Nonetheless, their worries do not end there. Nor mine did.
As a student, especially as an undergrad student, most of the times we can live for a while without being concerned about the future. We are just enjoying life, discovering all the possibilities and thinking about the subjects we are being taught. But as the graduation reaches its end, other concerns start popping out of our minds “what’s next?”, “what should I do now?”, “Is this really what I want to do?”
Fascinating questions, I must say, but so terribly uncomfortable, most of the time, to answer. For some, following to the next level of education seems unavoidable: but exactly which one? For others, business or industry lie on the table: but am I ready? Do I have the right curriculum for that position?
Fortunately, our University offers great support in terms of careers advice and business startup. If you are starting to struggle with these questions, have a quick look on the Purple Door website. Even if you want to add some work experience, volunteering or find a part-time job, you’ll find plenty of information over there.
Nonetheless, my experience says you must be proactive when it comes to finding other options after your undergrad. Not all of us have the same expectation about the future. Some are keen on experiencing the job market, to experience some hands-on work and contribute with what they have learned. If you are one of those, you should seek some guidance from supervisors from each school in order to ask for some useful information. For instance, in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences a group of students applied for the Society of Economic Geology Student Chapter, which is a wider organisation, and now and then they invite people from the industry to come and have a say of what it is needed from young geologists or how the market has been for the past years. Following these initiatives, they organized a trip to the Imperial College of London for a General Meeting of the SEG. Loads of things were discussed over there, as the UK and EU strategy concerning vital metals and ore exploration, scholarships and jobs opportunities related with the H2020. Several employers from different companies came to have a say about their experience and how they got there. It was a good “wake-up call” for those students wanting to pursue a mining career but still had some doubts and concerns of ‘where’ and ‘what to do’.
Since the Natural History Museum is so close to the Imperial College, we went there for a quick peek – Dodo, picturing as the extinct bird endemic from Madagascar.
Not a Spacesuit.. no. This is a high-temperature enduring suit, made for surveillance and research on volcanoes
The itinerary for our Students into Mining sessions
I’m positive several other initiatives like this one are and will happen around the UK and most certainly at the University as well. If not, do encourage your lecturers to do so.
As for those of you thinking on masters/PhD degree, the University of Portsmouth has a good range of courses, each year is improving its offer, and several students, after it, have been employed. You have MA/MSc and MRes, usually the first takes 2 years to complete while the later is a full-year only researching. You can book a place to be part of the open day, where clarifications of this sort and much thoroughly are given – Open Day Masters.
As my personal view, I do think going abroad should be on your to-consider-list.
It does look good on your CV, it is much more than just living by yourself (you might have already done that yet), and it is not only partying (if that passed through your mind!). Going abroad can also be less expensive. Considering the living costs of the UK and the fees of a postgraduate course, considering living in an EU country is not completely nuts. Even if the rank of the University is not as high as the University of Portsmouth or other institution in the UK, having a diploma from a different country (though do check its eligibility outside the country) means lots of things that the person who is checking your CV will perceive: means learning a new language, adapting and adjusting to a foreign culture, practising much more social and communication skills, enduring hard situations, experiencing different views and ways of work. You can have a quick look on the top European Universities here. You can search by country or by ranking.
You can still have this experience and be in a UK University. Just check the ERASMUS+ website and do a little research on the requirements and choices you may have. You can also apply to a fund, that can help you out during your ERASMUS.
With a quick search, you can have an idea of which countries in Europe have more attractive living costs, accessing Numbeo. I would recommend (obviously!) Portugal, Spain or France as possible destinations. These are countries that speak the most spoken languages in the world (apart from English and Mandarin), with welcoming people (increasing towards the SW) and depending upon the subjects with recognized education systems and research. Just be aware that they don’t always have information written in English. That’s easily overcome by sending an email to one or more lecturers of the School you fancy. They can give you all the tips you need.
In case you need some “motivation” to go abroad… (SW of Portugal)
Times are getting harder for everyone. The economy is not so good, the Market’s trust is not as good and therefore, job opportunities and vacancies in Academia are getting reduced. Of course, now and then, mostly due to EU funding, there is still some places and scholarships. If you don’t mind internationalization, some countries are developing and would appreciate young brilliant minds working for them. But don’t be surprised if you don’t find the perfect job right away or if it doesn’t match your expectations, seldom they don’t. With time, patience and dedication you will get there.