5 Ways to Enrich Your University Experience

Junior Achievement full day training for student executives – on different areas of the company including finance, marketing, and human resources.

University is the time of your life where you learn, make mistakes, and gain experience. Many of us go to University with the objective of landing a full-time job after graduation, or investing in a business.

How can we enrich our university experience? Below, are the ‘5 ways to enrich your university experience’ Not only in monetary terms, but in terms of social life, and experience.

The 5 ways

  • Part time job/Internship
  • Financial Plan
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Networking
  • Social Life

Part Time Job/Internship

According to inc.com, 46% of Millennials left their last job due to lack of career growth. Having a relevant part time job throughout university will give you the head start in knowing what you would like to do after graduation.

Throughout your part time job or internship, always prove yourself. Go above and beyond expectations, as this is the perfect time to start developing the skills needed for your future career goals. If you’re working part time throughout the school year, create a schedule to effectively manage your time.

Financial Plan

University is an expensive investment. University is one way we invest in ourselves to further our knowledge in a specific subject. However, the reality is, tuition prices at some universities have been rising faster than inflation. We can tackle this problem through one simple method – by creating a budget.

According to Fastweb and FinAid, student load debt exceeds $1.1 trillion, which can be one of the reasons why 39% of millennials worry about their financial future “at least once a week” (Fidelity study).

Within your budget, include what is going in and what is going out. Be as specific as possible. The main purpose of creating a budget is to keep track of your finances. The whole point of having a financial plan is to know what your objectives are, a goal measured in dollars, and an expected completion date.

Your goal can be as simple as saving $100 a month. This $100 a month investment would lead to $5,520.88 after four years, when invested into a mutual fund returning approximately 7% annually. Never underestimate the time value of money. Since we are all young, we are able to afford a little more risk in our portfolio. In other words, we can have a higher percentage of assets invested in equity.

Equity investments are known to be much riskier than bonds, or Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), however, history shows that equity investments outperform in the long term.

Another common myth by university students is the ‘I don’t have enough money to invest’ excuse. Keep in mind, you don’t need to have a couple of grand in your bank account to start investing. There is nothing wrong with starting by a small amount, even saving $50 per month. This $50 per month investment would lead to $2,760.44 at the end of four years.

Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship has been a popular trend the past few years. Many governments, including the Government of Canada have introduced grants for entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship involves creating your own business from scratch, they can also be known as ‘start-ups.’ 7 out of 10 new employer firms survive at least 2 years, half at least 5 years, a third at least 10 years, and a quarter stay in business 15 years or more (Forbes). You can be the quarter that stays in business 15 years or more by developing your skills right now, such as working as an intern, and participating in student clubs.

A good way to learn about entrepreneurship is by participating as a Student Advisor for Junior Achievement. Junior Achievement is a not for profit youth business education organization. Junior Achievement educates many youths across Canada on entrepreneurship through the Company Program – a hands on experience where high school students start a business from scratch.

Student Advisors are responsible for coaching students on entrepreneurship, as they guide students through the 18-week program. Student Advisors would also have the opportunity to be coached by business professionals as well, gaining expertise in entrepreneurship.

Many Universities have a ‘hub’ for entrepreneurships – such as The Hub at University of Toronto. Check if your school has a hub for entrepreneurship, as they typically provide many resources, and connections for your ideas.

Networking

Mentoring is a great way to learn from others. Benefits of mentorship include, but are not limited to:

  • Learning from your mentor
  • Advice – on what you can do now, that will benefit you
  • Networking/introductions

Take advantage of mentorship, whether it’s a formal mentorship through university or at work, or an informal mentorship. Either way, mentors tend to provide a huge benefit.

Mentoring is not only for ‘career’ advice. It can be for university, professional designations, and even for entrepreneurship. According to Micro Mentor, mentored businesses increased their revenue by 83%, while non mentored businesses only increased their revenue by 16%. Micro Mentor also stated that 83% of mentored businesses survived, while only 74% of non mentored business survived.

Speaking of networking and introductions – mentors can be a good key contact for professionals in your desired career field. Another way to expand your network is by attending networking events. Knowing more people will come handy for landing a full time job after graduation. Going to networking events will also give you a chance to learn more about the different career path opportunities after graduation.

Social Life

Social life is basically just as important as all of the factors above. Don’t forget to have the right balance between fun and work during university. It’s okay to have a little fun – studying/working around the clock will lead to a burnout, which would negatively impact your performance.

Laughter is a great way to manage your stress – “laughter really is great medicine. It’s free and has no negative side effects. It’s like an aerobic workout for your insides. It uses the muscles of your abdomen, deepens your breathing and increase your level of oxygen.” UWO.

There are many ways to have an active social life in University. These include but are not limited to:

  • Movie hangouts
  • Date nights
  • Attending social events
  • ‘Chilling’ with your friends
  • Attending amusement parks

Having a social life will enrich your university experience, as you are less likely to have a burnout.

Conclusion

As mentioned before, University is a time where you learn, make mistakes and gain experience. It’s normal to make many mistakes throughout University, however, it’s important to be able to learn from these mistakes. Just remember to have a social life, and start saving/investing to keep you finances on track. Also focus on expanding your network and soft skills through different opportunities, such as internships, and student clubs.


Writer: Jelani Smith

Disclaimer: All investing can potentially be risky. Investing or borrowing can lead into financial losses. All content on Bay Street Blog are solely for educational purposes. All other information are obtained from credible and authoritative references. Bay Street Blog is not responsible for any financial losses from the information provided. When investing or borrowing, always consult with an industry professional.