Student working on a laptop and making notes

June 1, 2020, by stykjsk

Why exam lessons can be career lessons

By Katy Skillen, MNutr Master of Nutrition and Dietetics, second year student blogger

For many of us, we are now bang in the middle of exam period. Yet, these exams are very different than what we expected. I never thought I would be sitting my second year exams on my dining room table, with a cup of tea and over a week to write them. While we are missing out on the intense exam environment, this experience has taught me a lot about what type of worker I am.

We could try reflecting on this strange exam setting to learn more about ourselves.

How do you manage your time?

Having such a long timeframe to answer these exams has taught me a lot about how I like to structure my time. I definitely do not like to be rushed, and a highly stressful job would not suit me at all! I hate working under pressure, and much prefer being prepared and having longer to think about things. But if you prefer to intensively prep for an exam just a few days before, perhaps a fast paced job is better for you.

Are you a perfectionist?

Having open-book exams does have a downfall. It creates the temptation to keep perfecting your questions day after day. I’m not someone who can easily switch off from work in the evening, so I don’t think it would be good for me to have a job which brings out my inner perfectionist. Have a think about this for yourself.

A job from home?

This is something that I was very opposed to before now, but it’s actually not as bad as I thought. This is a really great time to imagine doing a job in a similar way to how you’re doing exams. Are you able to get into a focused mindset, even in a relaxed setting? Or do you need a physical separation between work and home?

How is your self motivation?

There’s no clock ticking and no exam adjudicator walking up and down the aisles. So, can you motivate yourself to keep on working? This could give you an indication as to whether you would be good at a self-employed job, or need to be set deadlines by someone else to keep you focused.

Working by yourself?

These exams have meant no library revision dates with friends, no intensive exam preparation the night before together and no frantic discussion about the questions afterwards. I have missed this a lot. I love working with people and sharing my experience with others. Therefore, having a strong network of people for support is something I would really like to find in a job.

Ultimately however, I think we need to give ourselves a big pat on the back for how we are coping during these exams. Keep pushing through in whatever way works for you. You might even come away with some positive learnings about what you want from a career.

Finally, good luck- you can do it!

Have a more detailed look at narrowing down your career ideas by exploring the online Careers resources. 

Posted in Choosing Your CareerStudent Bloggers