One month into my MSc Strategic Marketing programme, I have been overwhelmed with a multicultural cohort of students from over 100 nationalities, numerous career events, job applications and of course, the programme itself.
Making friends in an unfamiliar environment can be daunting. Let alone the fact that you’re reminded time and time again that the deadlines for all your graduate job applications are approaching. Hence, it comes as no surprise if you find it challenging to strike the right balance between all the opportunities coming your way.
You’re probably wondering what this rant is all about? When do you get to live the true Imperial experience?
My secret sauce to how to cope with all the stress, unfamiliarity and multi-tasking is YOU! You are what defines your Imperial experience. To help you strike the balance between social and academic life, here are some of my top tips:
Make a list of the top five things you want to achieve or attempt
This does not necessarily need to be the cliché “get a job”, “meet deadlines”, “network”, etc. (unless that’s what works for you).
For example, some of the things I have put down for myself would include:
- Get to know people from cultures other than my own on a ‘personal level’
- Be an active member of two to three sports and Career Clubs – if you haven’t already heard, Imperial has over 300 clubs and societies
- Make the most of the career opportunities offered by the university – a wide range of career workshops, sector-specific job fairs and multiple recruitment presentations on campus itself
Allocate your time and resources every week or month
It’s important your find the right balance between work, study and your social life. Trust me; writing down where you need to spend time will help you pin point where you are falling short or perhaps, overdoing it.
Identify your career priorities
As you would have identified by now, Imperial places grave importance on the careers front. Hence, it is almost certain that you would be overwhelmed by the career-specific opportunities being offered to you. In my case, particularly, career events tended to take precedence over all the other things that I wanted to do. So much so, I over-stressed about my ability to multitask between job applications and group work commitments and deadlines.
A quick tip – don’t sign up for every single event. Go through the list of events and once again, prioritise! What helped me was making a list of sectors and companies I was particularly interested in and solely focusing on events related to them. This not only helped me improve my sector knowledge but also made room to prioritise other aspects of the programme.
Attend social events
Every programme has a Social Leader, as the name suggests, their main purpose is to bring the cohort together and make the course environment more friendly. They organise multiple events independently or in conjunction with other programmes. Whether you’re a very sociable person or not, these events are the perfect icebreakers to get to know your classmates and other students across Imperial. After all, who doesn’t enjoy making new friends or simply grabbing a drink after class.
I hope I’ve been able to ease that tension as to how to cope with multiple opportunities at Imperial. The next time you hear someone say Imperial is super challenging, you can rest assured that you’re a step ahead.