Four tips to navigating your student journey and beyond
As you begin your study journey, BSc Computer Science student Kyle shares four tips for setting yourself up for maximum success throughout your studies and beyond.
If you’re about to start a university experience here at UoL, I’ve got just what you need, and what I wish I had when I started; the quintessential guide to being successful!
Okay… I admit, that’s quite a strong claim… but now that you’re here I do have four points that I feel will set you up at UoL quite nicely, student to student. If we’re going to be in this boat together, we might as well help each other, right? Here are a few things that will help you set yourself up for success.
- Find the balance between potential earnings and your passion for a field of study. Do not pick a degree that makes a lot of money but that you find boring, and vice versa. Be passionate about what you’re studying but be smart about it. How much does your future job pay? Is that enough for your needs? Do your research ahead of time. I think you’ll find that you have passions in multiple areas, and all you need to do is pick the better value proposition for yourself.
- Make the most of opportunities to build you portfolio. Your degree is 1-2 lines in your CV. That’s a very small, nearly insignificant portion of what you’ll be giving to recruiters. Does that mean you shouldn’t get a degree? Of course not, the collated reliable material and educational experience is invaluable by itself, but it does mean you shouldn’t rely on your degree for your job searches. As an aspiring game developer, I had the privilege of getting advice on breaking into the industry, and the common theme I found amongst all the wisdom I was given was to make games outside of university. The students that got junior roles and internships were the ones that had multiple games built before their final project. They were the students who took their knowledge from university and applied it outside their studies. They did things, they networked with people, attended conferences and built things. When you start your degree, see if you can find internships or any opportunities to network. If your field of study is portfolio based, then see if you can start building that as soon as possible.
- Commit, and I mean really commit. Give it 100% and no less. You have to jump, even if you don’t know where you’ll land. It should be all or nothing. No one who’s successful aims to be just “okay”; they aim to be great. There are no shortcuts; give it all you’ve got from the start. Be disciplined in your approach and show passion and perseverance, not one or the other. Your potential will never materialise without discipline. You were not born average, you were born talented. It would be a shame if you didn’t show the world just how amazing that talent can be. Do not give yourself the safety net of mediocrity; take that leap of faith.
- You’re a student, acknowledge that privilege. Students get some of the best support and some of the best discounts. As a student, you have a vast amount of resources easily available to you. Use them; it’s that simple. Online, distance and flexible learning students at the University of London get access to the UoL Online library, as well as access to the peer-to-peer support app TalkCampus. You are not in this alone, in every possible way you could interpret that sentence. Everything you do here, you do not have to do alone. UoL has highly experienced academics and being a student gets you into doors you wouldn’t have been able to enter otherwise. I’ve personally spoken to and met talented and experienced game developers. The only words I said were “I’m a game development student” and immediately they were extremely accommodating and helpful. You don’t have these privileges forever, so make the most of them.
At the end of the day, your success depends on you and how well you set yourself up for it. Success is very rarely lucky. It is planned for and achieved after unwavering perseverance; that is the guarantee.
To all new students, I wish you the very best on your new journey, and I hope that I’ve given you a nugget of information that you can take with you to be successful. ‘Quintessential guide’ were some big words to fill in only four points, but hopefully there was enough in this to put you on the right track!
Kyle studies BSc Computer Science in the UK.