Whether you are still a dazzled freshman, experienced undergraduate or busy final year student, there are always things you can do for an awesome university life experience before graduation.
1. Learn a new skill
You’re going to spend three or four years in university; it’s a good span to develop a new skill that may benefit your resume and your well of expertise when you graduate. I personally discovered during my first year that I could write with clarity and for different topics, which encouraged me to further develop the skill. During my first internship, I ended up carrying out market research for a startup company and managed their social media presence.
You will never know where the skills you have can take you, so if you happen to discover that special interest, go for it and spend some time to perfect it. The opportunities will line up by themselves, not to mention you’ll learn a great deal about yourself too.
2. Go overseas
Experience something new. Go crazy. Get ideas for your creative projects. Document it, by way of pictures, narratives or blogs (don’t just focus on your social media presence). Not only will it teach you the nuances of cultural diversity which you will encounter at the workplace, it trains your cultural sensitivity and appreciation, which will come in handy if reflected well in your resume.
3. Hold a party with your friends
Don’t bother emptying your bank account hosting a full-blown party; a simple gathering with home-cooked food, or a slow-paced after-exam celebration featuring an acoustic guitar will be much more meaningful. Having a break once in a while with those friends who made it through the first final exams with you is a great way to beat stress and make more meaningful connections.
4. Do something outside the campus
Volunteer. Work part-time at a local cafe (while still managing your assignments). Work freelance online. Whatever it is, spend some time out of the confines of the cozy, protective campus. Get yourself some fresh air from the real world and interact with interesting people. You will even develop new skills along the way, the most important being interpersonal and communication skills. Seven months of being a part-time barista has taught me more about important interpersonal skills than one year of school ever would have.
5. Make international friends
What else can give you a fresh viewpoint, first-hand account of another culture while having an awesome time hanging out with friends from all over the world?
6. Go to the school library
You’ll be surprised how much knowledge and resources are packed in those inanimate, cold isles of aloof books. Developing a reading habit will come in handy as you begin to carry out extensive research on career paths and choices. Reading up on your chosen field will also equip you with valuable knowledge you’ll need for your internship and subsequently your job.
7. Go to a school concert
Support your friends and get amazed by their hidden talents!
8. Have your own concert
Form a band with some buddies. Sign up for a school concert. If not, organise a karaoke session with some of your old and new friends. Worst case, have a free karaoke session inside your dorm room.
University is a good time to realize that it is OK to be silly sometimes, as long as you get to have fun with your friends, both childhood buddies and newly found best friends.
9. Attend a formal event
Sign up for a formal dinner organised by alumni, a formal career fair or a faculty-sponsored networking event. For instance, NUS students often receive invitations to networking events organised by SAP, NUS being a partner and customer of the software solution company. Attending these events will teach you the nuances (some call it inconvenience) of the professional working world. You’ll also have opportunities to develop new professional connections and find out more about internship or work opportunities.
10. Talk to the lecturers/ professors
Ask some questions. Clarify your doubts after a lecture. You’ll be surprised how willing they are to help and how quickly a personal connection can develop between teacher and student.
11. Learn a new language
You can do it for fun or for future career development. Either way, it’s still awesome.
12. Take an unusual module
University is still the best time to fool around with fields of knowledge you normally wouldn’t touch. Get an appreciation of different disciplines; it helps open up your mind to new possibilities.
13. Spend more time outdoors
Go for runs, play an outdoor sport, go trekking in a local reservoir (the McRitchie Reservoir is really worth checking out). It’s always good to get yourself some fresh air once in a while, at the same time keeping yourself fit and healthy.
14. Get your work showcased
Sign up for a computing summer project, science fair or music composition competition. Nothing beats having your work showcased to receive others’feedback, appreciation and criticism. It can even get you a headstart for your final year project.
15. Explore the local cuisine
Go on a budget cafe hopping, or take a tour around different faculties to explore the offerings in each. Make sure you have company to enjoy these little joyful moments with! Speaking of which, make sure to check out our special checklist of budget eateries near NUS and SMU!