ast time I blogged, I was panicking about the ‘what ifs’ of trying to get a job in the radio industry. I’m still in that position, but I have a clearer perspective. But for now, this post is about the amount of progression 3 years can have on you, whatever your degree.
I’m going to break this down into years, almost like a timeline.
First Year – Finding your social circle
“You only need 40% to pass apparently” was the catchphrase of my first year at uni, and the deal-breaker if you wanted one of your friends to go out with you. Looking at how I handled university academically, I always used the same work ethic as I did in school, especially when it came to GCSE and A-level. I worry a lot, usually about the most unnecessary things that are out of my reach. Therefore, I would always hand in assignments a couple of days before the deadline day; in case I forgot something, I had the chance to go back and amend – this is a piece of advice I would absolutely recommend to anyone still at uni. I’ve had situations where an audio piece wasn’t exactly 5 minutes long and I didn’t realise until after uploading, or an essay didn’t have the correct reference in; saving myself the worry and avoiding an all-nighter was a work ethic I pride myself on.
I can just about remember my first essay, it had to be 1000 words and, me being me, was stressing about it. What was Harvard referencing? What do I say? Is it up to university standard? Little naive me was expecting to know a lot already. If I could go back and speak to first year Fleur back then it would be not to stress, the first essay is for the lecturer to see what your writing style is like.
The hardest part of first year academically, was actually learning about radio. I came to uni having 0 experience in editing or recording, soI decided that there was no other option than to learn the hard way and start from scratch. This meant having one-on-one tutorials with my lecturer about Adobe Audition, getting as much training in a studio so I was alright with the next assignment, and picking up the liveliness of student radio which I forced myself to apply for. After just typing this, I’m quite impressed at how many new opportunities I put myself through, on top of living with new people, and getting to grips of the student life, being social 24/7 because you had no TV, and you were boring if you spent your free time in your room.
In a nutshell, I learned the basics in first year, but I actually spent more time socialising with my friends, as I had been told your first year is the best (And it kind of was).
Second Year – Learning the Hard Way
This is when it starts to mean more than 40%, plus, you’re not in student halls anymore. For my course, we had a 4-week compulsory placement to start thinking about. The majority of my second year assignments was group work. And although I had no problem with groups because I love working as a team, it can get tough. You’re not the only one in control of the assignment – and you know the effort has to be shared. Therefore you take on one responsibility, and have the worrying thought that there are other people in charge of different roles that you need to rely on, which could potentially make or break your grade. Guaranteed, by the end of your uni life, you will agree that independent work is the best, the only person slacking, or taking on too much is yourself; which is easy to discipline.
But this is also the time where friendships and relationships aren’t as strong. This doesn’t mean you will fall out, but you’ll notice the distance grow on you. From personal experience, second year is like no man’s land, you’re kind of stuck in the middle, with not much in that academic year to be excited about.
On the other hand, more experience builds, and you subconsciously pick up loads of knowledge that you didn’t realise you had until it comes to applying for placement positions at different radio stations. My interviewing skills increased the more I had an audio-based assignment to complete, there is no better way to get better at it than to keep doing it, you know what sounds right and wrong; and how to draw emotion out of someone in a way that does not make the contributor uncomfortable.
My advice for anyone reading this about to go into second year is that this is the time you can learn from your mistakes, you’ve still got time to make everything right – and do not be so hard on yourself!
Third Year – A new, headstrong you
It’s always perceived as “scary” because of the D word – Dissertation, but it was my favourite year, purely because I had come far and took on more responsibilities that went towards my degree. I haven’t even got my results back yet, but after three years of having small panic moments every time get a grade back, I’ve learned that with the right attitude to work and relevant experience, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get what you were hoping for.
Your dissertation is, in a way, enjoyable, you get to write about whatever you want! So stay motivated, otherwise it’ll show up on your paper that you’re not giving it your all. The same goes for the graduate project, you can interview whoever you get your hands on. Third year is all about what you can do after all these years.
Looking at the past year as a final student, I’ve found that you begin to look after yourself more, cherish your occasional nights out, and you look for more opportunities to build your CV. And don’t worry about not being offered a job straight after uni – it doesn’t work like that!
In short and based on what I’ve learned, if you’ve just finished uni, or about to go into your final year; my only advice would be to not worry about what comes next. There will always be someone who does better than you, even if you put in more effort. Train yourself up and make your CV the most impressive thing ever, it’s more of what you’ve done and your personality, than the mark