New year, new semester: top ten tips for success

Hello and a warm welcome to semester two from the Careers Service.

After bidding farewell to 2020 in what was an extremely challenging year with Covid-19, the new year of 2021 brings hope of a brighter future. In our first blog of 2021, we are delighted to share suggestions from Careers Service staff to keep your motivation on track throughout this semester:

1. Take small steps

“It can be overwhelming to think about the bigger picture – especially during this pandemic.  Focus on your next step – even if it is a small one, this will keep you moving forward.”

Rachel Taylor, Link Careers Consultant, School of GeoSciences

2. Free yourself! 

“I dislike the phrase ‘career planning’ because it inherently seems to suggest we can sit down and carefully map out the course of our whole professional lives. We can’t. (Who predicted Covid-19?)  What you can do is to begin to think about your next step(s). This might be to research a career area/occupation; apply for an internship; find out about postgraduate study or apply for a graduate role of interest.  Reducing it to next steps takes the pressure off. As does knowing that if you do something and don’t enjoy it, then you can change. Which makes it much less scary. So make a start with our Careers Compass, which guides you through some steps.”

Matt Vickers, Link Careers Consultant, School of Maths and jointly for the School of Engineering

3. Create a daily to-do list

“Cross something off your to-do list early in the day – even if you’ve done most of the work for this task the day before, this puts you in a good frame of mind for moving on to the next task.”

Jane Challinor, Careers Information Manager

4. Organise your day

“If you’re a planner and/or you’ve noticed a lack of motivation, give yourself some structure by dividing your day into sections. It’s easy to fall out of the habit while many of your education and social activities are held online, so you could try:

  • watching any recorded content for your classes at a regular time
  • arranging a time to chat to classmates about it
  • studying or writing assignments at the same time as a friend
  • giving yourself deadlines

Remember to reward yourself for having achieved them with an episode of your favourite show, a walk, a book chapter, or something else that makes you happy.”

Shelley Morgan, Link Careers Consultant, School of Divinity

5. Take time out

  • “Plan fun activities or social events throughout your week so you have a balance of university, work, and time with friends or family. Don’t overwhelm your diary with commitments but having things to look forward to and get excited about can be great! For example, you could schedule in a walk with a friend, a themed dinner evening with your flatmates, a murder mystery event, or a book club… The important thing is to find something that makes you happy and you’re comfortable doing, which will relax and invigorate you during the winter months.
  • We’re all spending more time on our screens – if you find this drains your energy, try a social media blocker on your phone or try having a voice call instead of video next time you catch up with a friend. Remember to look away from your screen every few minutes and focus on something else to keep your eyes feeling fresh!”

Kelly Barbour, Project Coordinator (Mentoring)

6. Acknowledge your accomplishments

“Feeling a bit despondent? At the end of the day, it can be helpful to capture four or five things you have achieved, however small and one thing you are grateful for.”

Kirsti Ferrier, Link Careers Consultant, School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

7. Spend time outdoors

“Try to get outside for a bit while it is still daylight. It gets dark really quickly in January, a quick blast of fresh air in the daylight can do wonders for your motivation and mood.”

Eilidh Steele, Internships Manager

8. Stay active

“During the pandemic, we’ve had to work / study from home and be in front of the computer a great deal. Make sure you get up and move /”walk” between tasks and meetings (just as you would if you were walking to a lecture / meeting).”

Kirsti Ferrier, Link Careers Consultant, School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

9. Let go of perfection…

“Embrace ‘good enough’, nothing is perfect, life can be messy – and we all make mistakes.”

Elizabeth Mortimer, Assistant Director

10. Get involved in university life

“Taking part in extracurricular activities is an excellent way to build on your skillset and meet new people. Try something new with the Students’ Association “Give it a Go” 2021 campaign, brought to you by university societies and sports clubs. Check out their full programme of events from Monday 11th January.”

Nicola Meikle, Careers Information Adviser

And finally… stay inspired

Whatever your ambitions are and whatever stage you’re at, the Careers Service is here to help. You’ll find information, advice and resources on our website.

(Image credit: Anna Tarazevich on Pexels)



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