Back to school season is in full swing. And no matter how old you are, there’s always time to go back and learn new things. Whether you’re eighteen or eighty, back to school can mean so many different things. It can mean enrolling in a course you’ve always wanted to do, signing up for University, completing your Masters, or just retraining.
The CGD LONDON team have all been to University and studied different things in our lives, so here are a few things we wish we knew while we were studying to inspire you to do your best and reach for the stars.
When I was seventeen or eighteen, I dreamt about my future, but it was something really far away, for later. When you’re younger, you should already start working on your future and not wait until you’re twenty-five or twenty-six. So, for instance, I wanted to start a business, why didn’t I start that business when I was younger and learn along the way? I think the main thing is to know it’s never too early to start something exciting for yourself. Whatever your passion is, you should follow it as soon as possible, don’t wait until you’re ‘older’ or until the right time, just get stuck in and learn along the way.
I already got some of that discipline and got stuck into my first business when I finished University, but what could I have achieved if I’d started even earlier? That’s something I think about sometimes. I was already very focused on my future, but I could have started sooner. I think my advice would be to just start, whatever your big dream is, go for it as soon as you can – there’s no perfect time, and you will learn along the way. When you look back, you’ll be happy that you started earlier. The sooner you can work towards something, the better.
I wish I studied what I actually wanted to learn. I studied law, but I would have picked something different. I wish I’d studied what I personally wanted to learn, instead of being influenced by people around me. And I also wish I got out there more and did more with my degree. So whether it is starting a side business or applying for summer internships, and working the whole summer with someone I admire or a company I look up to, I wish I did more back then instead of watching TV and pulling all-nighters because I hadn’t studied.
People will always say it’s not possible, so don’t listen to them. All roads lead to Rome. You can do an internship, a year abroad, or a year working, people forget that if you want something, there are more things than your degree that will get you there. Also, don’t be afraid to ask existing people who are already there in the role you want because they love to give you advice. If you don’t have an uplifting surrounding around you, go out there and find it.
If I could go back, I would tell myself to stop stressing out about the future. I spent a large amount of time, not knowing what I wanted to be or do because I believed that my passion (writing) was a soft skill and that I wouldn’t get anywhere. The best thing I ever did was an internship at a magazine in London, miles from the city I was studying in.
I used to be a very ‘scared’ person. I never pushed myself out of my comfort zone, but now I’m the girl who flies by herself halfway across the world and does whatever is necessary to smash my goals. I’ve grown in confidence by pushing myself out of my comfort zone, so I would say to anyone like me who is maybe unsure if their degree translates to their dream job, or doesn’t know their place in the world and is worrying and fretting about the future – these are the best years of your life, and you should go out and grab every opportunity no matter how big and ‘scary’ it might seem. The only fear in life is fear itself, remember that!
I wish I knew not to leave everything to the last minute! I spent my first two years at uni staying up until the early hours of the morning before a hand in, which just causes a lot of stress (and sleepless nights!). At first the whole working by myself thing seemed impossible, I wasn’t sure how to go about it and hit my deadlines.
By my third year, I had figured out that if I planned out my workload, set myself my own deadlines, and met them, I would be a lot less stressed before a hand in. It worked, I had my dissertation ready and printed a week before the deadline and spent that week relaxing rather than staying up until 5 am!
I definitely wish someone had told me not to stress so much and to take every opportunity I could. Get stuck in straight away and take yourself out of your comfort zone! Try to dip your toes into lots of different activities and get to know your flatmates and classmates as they’re the people you’ll be spending the majority of your time with!
If I could go back, I would stress less and enjoy my time more, and try to bond with people from all walks; it’s amazing to have the opportunity to meet a variety of people all at one time.
I wish I’d known that everything I did mattered. Back then, I could’ve thrown myself into things that would pay off now; I wish I knew that it’s okay to struggle sometimes, and it’s also okay to have so much fun. You don’t need to feel guilty for going out at night and enjoying yourself, as long as you’re giving your studies 100% as well. I do wish for some things I’d given 1000%, but that’s something you learn between the first year and second or third year of your degree. There’s a difference in your attitude when you first arrive at University, compared with when you’re about to leave.
If I could go back now, I would probably apply myself more to every opportunity and see what doors opened for me.
P.S got any questions about our time at University or our career choices in particular? Drop a comment below and we’ll answer your questions!
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