What would I do differently? From a finalist
You learn from everything you do so I don’t have any uni regrets, but knowing what I do now there are a few things I would do differently if I could reel back time.
1. Change degree to Global Sustainable Development and keep up German as an external module. This way I would still get the year abroad in Germany, but I wouldn’t have to read so many 18 century German literature books. At the time I started the GSD degree didn’t exist, so no love lost.
2. Split my year abroad to do 6 months teaching English with the British Council (I did the full 9 months, which was good but repetitive by the end since you don’t have many responsibilities as an assistant), one university term and an internship/volunteering over the summer, in Germany/Austria/Switzerland. The year away was good but the variation could’ve made it even more exciting and educational.
3. Do a wider range of volunteering and start volunteering earlier. I started volunteering in year 2 and since then have mainly done teaching of sorts – helping 5 year olds learn to read, teaching English to beginner adults, and this morning I helped Rawkus go around Claycroft and collect the food and cutlery (and rice cookers and Christmas trees) left behind in student accommodation. It’s a good way to keep busy, be sociable and feel like you’re doing something worthwhile, not just going to the pub every night with pals. If you’re all about the CV, it’s not bad for that either.
4. Join a team sports club rather than the gym. Gym is great for making the muscles actually look visible but I do miss the “we’re all in this together!” feeling you get from playing in a team. Granted, a lot of time has to be committed to a team, which is why I only competed once with the Latin and Ballroom team.
All in all though I feel I’ve made the most of my time here. Balancing a social life with degree work and keeping fit and volunteering and being a student rep and being involved with societies and being in a relationship and looking after house plants and a hamster is plenty.