October 15, 2020, by Matthew Lumley
Why you should join the Nottingham Postgraduate Advantage Award
By Samantha Wilson, MA History
The start of the academic year is a hectic time for postgraduate students. This is true whether you are in the first year of a course or the third. You have to decide which extra-curricular activities to do and how to best to manage your time.
When navigating this challenge, I recommend that you consider the Nottingham Postgraduate Advantage Award.
To complete the scheme, I took two Award modules – French and Experience Heritage – and completed an end-of-year reflection. I chose these two modules to immerse myself in things I enjoy, but could not experience solely through my course.
This article will explore three ways the Award benefited me and why you should also take part.
Try something different
As a postgraduate student, it is easy to become isolated and only undertake activities related to your course or independent research.
Concentrating on one subject can lead to burnout or cause you to lose broader skills. This could adversely impact your course as well as your future career prospects. By participating in a variety of mentally stimulating activities you can help maintain a positive outlook.
The Nottingham Postgraduate Advantage Award is a perfect way to mix things up. It provides a wide range of modules which require focus and mental agility yet are still sufficiently different from your course. This was especially true for me by maintaining my existing knowledge of French, as languages are in a completely different department from history.
Develop transferable skills
The modules are designed to enhance your skillset. This can be module–specific skills, such as language proficiency. But also, more general ones like time management and adaptability.
Time management is essential as the modules require a fair bit of work. The heritage module required 35 hours of work experience and French involved two-hour classes every week for two semesters. Therefore, it is imperative that you work out how to balance your involvement in the Award with your coursework and other commitments.
To complete the modules, you also need to be adaptable to pick up new skills quickly. For example, in the Experience Heritage module, I immediately had to learn how to write a professional report. All these skills are transferable to any scenario, including your course. You can also highlight them in your CV to show employers that you are well prepared for a role in their company.
Make career choices
The Award modules can help you decide what you want to do after university. This is true for all modules, not just those dedicated solely to employability skills. For example, the heritage module made me realise that heritage was not a path I wanted to pursue as a career.
This forced me to consider other career options and was an influential factor in my decision to pursue a PhD. The Award allows you to sample potential career paths, either directly through experience or through more indirect advice.
Overall, I do not regret participating in the Nottingham Postgraduate Advantage Award in the slightest.
It helped me make the most of my postgraduate experience whilst improving my skillset. I recommend the programme, without any hesitation, to any postgraduate student.
Take your next steps to boost your employability and find out more about the scheme.
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