Now that I have closed the chapter on what has been the longest, most stressful (yet rewarding) part of my life (check it out here), it's the perfect time to look back in hindsight at all the things I would do differently and hopefully help any current students avoid making the same mistakes I did. 😉
The biggest one would have to be not looking for an internship early enough. For my first 3 years at school, I would start looking for internships around March/April, right before Spring/Summer internships started. 🥴
I found all 3 of my summer internships unconventionally and thought that made me 'lucky' - but really the only reason I had to go the unconventional route was BECAUSE I (unknowingly) waited till the last minute to look. And because I always ended up finding one, I never really questioned my method till my 4th year. ⏱
I've always been impulsive. Before coming to uni I didn't research my double degree. To me the degrees sounded amazing together; I was interested in biotech and thought that chemical engineering was very related to chemistry (how wrong I was!). 🧩 By the time I realized that I wasn't really enjoying my degrees, I felt like it was too late to switch. Everything ended up working out (because what you study doesn’t automatically determine what field you work in!) but I definitely could've been smarter with my research! ⭐️
There's a difference between knowing how to do something and knowing how to do it well. I am naturally extroverted and a people person, this means that networking seems to come easy to me. But knowing how to network effectively is something that I've had to learn through trial and error and experience! Keep an eye out for my ebook (coming out in June) where I detail the networking strategies that have helped me be successful in landing, referrals, interviews and jobs! 📖
Every single club / organization I joined in university had to look good on my resume. In fact almost everything I did came with the phrase "this'll look great on my resume!" - this is not a bad thing to think and it's not terrible to want to have an impressive resume…until it starts to feel like your entire life revolves around it 🙄. Life is SO MUCH bigger than a piece of paper or even an 'impressive' LinkedIn page. If I could go back I would join clubs that genuinely interested me regardless or whether or not I felt like I could add it to my resume!
85% of university / college is probably spent complaining. "Why did that prof give us this assignment?" "Why are my group members so annoying?!" "Why am I always so tired!?"
Self-defeating questions will only produce self-defeating answers. If the questions you ask aren't going to give you productive answers that you can act on…then you need to rethink the questions you are choosing to ask. 🧩
The saying "create opportunities for yourself" isn't only related to those in the workforce. Every thought you think is an opportunity that you can take advantage of 🔎. Are you going to keep asking yourself why you're always so tired or are you going to dig deep into your habits and see what can be tweaked to increase your energy throughout the day?
Answer your questions in a way that generates solutions, not more problems or negative thoughts. ✔
The last mistake I think I made in university was not creating as much as I consumed. This is related to mistake #4. Because I was so consumed with having an impressive resume, I neglected the creative side of my brain. "Creating" doesn’t mean starting a full-blown YouTube channel, small things such as writing, crocheting and drawing, that I used to enjoy often took a backseat to school work, volunteering and internships. 💼
(Science has actually shown that being creative in the morning is a fantastic stimulant for the brain and a great way to start off the day!)
What are some mistakes you made in uni/college that you hope other students can learn from?
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