A decision that I am grateful for making in my first year

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Hi everyone! It has been sunny in Manchester for the past few weeks and you can really feel that Spring is coming to us 😊. Hopefully everyone is safe and happy with their families!

As we now have more time at home, I took the chance to do some self-reflection about my experience since starting university. I have realised that some ‘minor’ decisions have turned out to be some of the most important ones I have made in my life! As most of these are uni-related, I want to share them with you, so you have the chance to make good decisions when you become a student at the University of Manchester!

  • Join a society

I decided to join Accounting Society and it became one of my best decisions.  In the society, I can meet like-minded people and develop friendships with them. The members are friendly and share a lot of information with us- whether it’s about internship applications, uni life and more. Even today, I am still in contact with a few senior members who have now graduated.  Have a look at some of the societies that you might be interested in: https://manchesterstudentsunion.com/groups?group_type=club-society-782

  • International 16

This is a programme that consists of 16 people from different countries organising different cultural events for the public, while having regular cultural exchange meet ups. This is one of the most challenging and engaging programs that I have been involved in. It took up almost half of my first-year life! Although there are challenging times – such as needing to work from 11am to 3 am to make an event a success, I got to know different cultures better and make life-long friends with people from all over the world. Even if you have a busy schedule and may not be considering the programme, do come along to the international society where you get to meet people who are friendly. Don’t be nervous of socialising with people you don’t know, everyone who comes here has the same aim (to make new friends!)

Find out more about the international society: https://internationalsociety.org.uk/

  • Volunteering as the class representative

In my first year, I made the bold decision to volunteer myself to become the class representative. I truly enjoyed this role throughout first year- I had the chance to communicate with my classmates and get to know a lot of them well. Besides, I also got to know the undergraduate officers who are friendly and understand how the Business School functions, which came in handy when I needed to help my peers. I get to voice my peers’ concerns and demands which helps in improving the programme structure and provides more opportunities for us. This boosted my confidence, while improving my communication and negotiation skills.

  • Networking and careers opportunities

Our lectures have been focusing on different things we can do to improve our employability. One of them is to attend different networking events. There are often different events organised by various firms, especially during the recruitment season from September to mid-April, and those are usually shared by the lecturers or on the careers link web page. By attending one of the networking events, I could connect with an employee who had graduated from The University of Manchester as well. He is helpful and provided me with tons of advice about my job application – I might not have been able to secure the internship without those valuable insights!

Besides, I have also learnt to not give up during the application period. I have received rejections throughout the period and was devastated at one point, however I decided to not give up and I finally secured an internship from my dream company. Some may consider buying different packages offered online to help secure a job position, but I would say (from my personal experience) you just need to be sure of yourself and continuously work hard on your goal. Knowing who to look for support from is important. I couldn’t thank my programme director Jenni and my academic advisor Wendy enough- they provided me valuable advice from their experience as chartered accountants, and linked me up with different professionals and a career consultant from the careers service.

I hope my experience will be helpful for anyone out there considering being a student at The University of Manchester- grasp the chances in your first year as it is definitely one of the most valuable times you will have in your life! For now, stay at home, stay safe and take care😊

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Jia Xuen

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