March 16, 2023, by egyjr4

My Experience Taking Part In Extracurricular Activities

Jason Richards, Aerospace Engineering student blogger

The world of engineering is a competitive field. With the high number of people going to university to get degrees, it is a challenge to stand out from a crowd with just your university experience. A common way to get around this is through extracurricular activities.

Why do an extracurricular activity?

On the surface, an extracurricular activity just seems like a lot of work. From my experience, this is the wrong mentality to have. It is more of an opportunity to do the type of work that you want to do. What you are taught in your classes has a rigid structure. Lecturers have a checklist of skills and theory they need to teach you for the degree to be accredited. With an extracurricular activity, you are given the ropes. There is a wide range of activities, usually offered through the form of societies.

My experience

Space Soc is focused towards extracurricular activities, usually through entering competitions that are related to space. I am part of the satellite team, where we are trying to build a satellite to detect space debris. This activity has introduced me to a lot of people with similar interests as me, as well as allowed me to develop skills that my course does not focus on.

During the process of doing this activity, I have been offered management workshops from UKSEDS, resources to help me learn more about the space sector, and put in touch with a veteran in the industry, Tim Cole. Tim Cole, has been working in the space industry for over 30 years and has a wealth of experience. The competition organisers put our team in contact with him to act as our mentor and to ask questions on any topic of our choosing. This is obviously a highlight of the project, which I would not have experienced if I did not take part in the competition.

There’s more than just societies

These opportunities do take time, and I would like to make it clear that they are not necessarily better than working a part-time job to support yourself. There are benefits that come with that, which taking part in the society projects don’t offer. My point is that you have a finite amount of time and your time at university is the best opportunity to learn and grow.

If you want to help people, then maybe volunteering for a charitable organisation is something that suits you. If you prefer to learn more about a specific field, like manufacturing, you may decide to try and volunteer your time at a local manufacturing company. If you love animals, then go and find a local zoo or animal shelter to volunteer. The options are only limited by yourself, and I would strongly encourage you to do something that you personally love doing. This way you can be happy with the end result and get an experience out of it that will stay with you for the long run.

What if there’s nothing that takes your fancy?

If you find that there isn’t a society that offers something you would like to do, there is nothing stopping you from starting your own project. That is how space society started last year. A group of 15 friends came together to build a rocket. To do this, all you need is support from a lecturer. This highlights a point of building connections with the people around you, as you can not do this alone. Even if it is an individual project, having someone to help you at some point will be beneficial when everything doesn’t go to plan.

Check out the different societies on the Students’ Union website or explore some other options on the Careers website. 

Posted in Choosing Your Career