Before going to university or the like, most individuals are protected within the family nest. They are often naive and do not imagine what is in store for them just a few years later. Only after arriving at university are we abandoned to ourselves to gain experience for our perfect future job. At this point people really are more independent and conscious that each oncoming step will be important for their life. Although they most generally arrive at university with the same baggage, from that moment on they all start to follow different paths.
Student employment or odd jobs
Firstly, students often have to work during their university life in order to be able to provide for themselves. Work experience is rarely, if ever, very exciting before getting a degree, but it is a first significant insight into the world of work. It can also be a real motivation for obtaining a degree – as it is often deprived of interest other than observing the real world’s hierarchy – to then have the possibility of getting a more interesting job. You can also possibly make contacts who can help you with finding other jobs later.
Secondly, students are often required to do an internship, which is a good way of discovering what their potential future job could be. An internship is a few months’ experience in a company in which you could gain a permanent post if both parties agree. This experience is very useful as the work is supposed to be closely related to your studied field in order to help you build further related skills, and hence a probationary report should be written at the end of the work experience as evidence of what you learnt. Then you are ready to enter real working life. Thus, making contacts during the internship can be quite important.
Finally, the last experience before the end of your studies, or cool time, is Erasmus. This is an exchange programme intended to improve your language skills as well as your knowledge of a foreign country’s culture. It can last from one to two semesters depending on your university agreement. Moreover, as you are a foreign student, courses you attend there should not be very difficult – often first year courses – and will leave you time to meet new people, party and explore the country. What is important to remember is that being a somewhat new, intense and long experience you will be sharing with new people, you are more likely to create strong affinities with these people.
But, it can lead to a post-erasmus depression that many people experience. Abandoning this new life that you have established away from family and with a new circle of friends is hard; after one year of settling in, having new experiences and being a foreigner, going back to the previous routine is disorientating.
After all these experiences, you should be ready to enter professional life with a thorough knowledge of what awaits you.