November 1, 2018, by Matthew Lumley

Your future – How the Advantage Award can help you take the first steps

By Rebecca Woodrow, BSc Hons Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience

“This degree will equip you with transferrable skills” – something we have all seen on University prospectus’. But what does that actually mean? As a science student, you are told these elusive ‘transferable skills’ could take you anywhere.

Although some go on to a career in their discipline, many of us will choose a different path. And finding that path is no easy task when it seems the options are endless.

That is why I chose to do the Advantage Award – to make a start on figuring things out.

Make a start

In my first year, I took the online module Your University Journey. This had monthly tips and tasks which helped guide you through University life – such as making notes in lectures and how to tackle extra reading.

Although it seemed trivial at the time, the strategies I learned back then I continue to use now in my third year. By making a conscious effort to reflect on myself and learn new skills, I ultimately became more confident in my academic work. This was my first step in taking control of my education and my future.

Explore your options

I have never known what I wanted to do and I thought my degree would help by narrowing down my options. But I have now decided I do not want to be a Psychologist – so what now?

My second module – Career Skills for Psychology Students – did not necessarily answer that question, but definitely made me think about it. I learned about applications, interviews and how to showcase my skills through my past experiences. This helped me get an internship this summer, which has had a huge impact on my future – showing me that path was not for me.

Do what you enjoy

One of the best things about the Advantage Award is doing something you feel proud of – whether that is challenging yourself, learning a new skill, or helping others. I chose the latter by becoming a mentor for first year students.

Yes, this gave me more of those ‘transferable skills’, like leadership, but it gave me far more. It showed me how far I had come since I was in their place and that I like engaging with people and helping others. It made me realise this was important to me in my future.

Many people will tell you that the Advantage Award looks great on your CV when applying for jobs – which it does. It sets you apart from others as someone who takes control of their path.

But if like me, you are not sure yet which career path to take, the Advantage Award is a great place to start. It helped me take the first steps, by making sure I was doing my best academically, thinking about my options and discovering what I enjoy.

Take your first steps this spring

Spring term modules have now opened for applications. Find out more and sign up to modules here.

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