Louis Van Gaal has gained 1 point in 2 premiership games. He has also lost 4-0 to Milton Keynes. In his press conferences, the suave Dutchman downplays the importance of these results. “They are meaningless”, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, “The league isn’t won in the first weekend” yadda yadda yadda.
I wanted to do medicine when I was at college. The application for medicine is made in early October of your A-Level year. After 3 A grades at AS Level, I turned my attention to making a killer UCAS application. I neglected my studies for the start of that year and concentrated my efforts on that application form. I thought that once I got into med school, I’ll up my game.
Thing is, it never works like that.
Like Louis Van Gaal will find out, tone is everything. Setting the tone will decide the end result. As my grades slid in my A Level year, I never got back the momentum I lost. I didn’t get into medical school and I didn’t get good A Level grades. The tone I had set for the year determined my outcome. Man Utd have set their tone, and I don’t have high hopes for them.
Word around campus is that the “first year doesn’t count”. Fair point, it doesn’t count towards your degree class.
However, you are kidding yourself with this attitude. You deserve the David Moyes Naïvety Badge.
Coasting through your studies in the first year sets the tone. If your tone is akin to a singing Spice Girl, then you are going to struggle. You will take that momentum forward with you into your remaining years and achieve mediocrity at best. And when you try to stand out in job applications, you won’t. You’ll be a number. That’s it.
To get ahead, you need to be different. The attitude that “first year doesn’t count” will set you up for a fall. You have to make it count, and here is how.
1 Make the 2nd and 3rd year easy
A degree is different to learning you have done to date. You will have to understand your subject. Many subjects are built upon core ideas. Advanced topics build on these core ideas. Work your nuts off in year one to truly understand these core ideas.
Once you do, you will half your work load in 2nd and 3rd year. I studied Chemistry and did half the work in third year as I did in first year. I got the highest marks in the class. Ner.
2 Take aim and fire
Who sets off on a journey without knowing where they want to go? Starting uni without an end goal is just the same. You need to decide why you are there. What do you want your degree for? What job do you want? What do you need to do to get that job? What experience do you need? Where are you going to get that experience? Where are you going to evidence that experience? (Kloodle, by the way).
University is an opportunity to broaden horizons. Considering your grades don’t count, why not make hey elsewhere? Take up new activities, ones you wouldn’t think about doing at home. Now is your chance to develop new interests. Meet new people and make new friends. Try something completely out of character. It’ll be brilliant.
4 Prepare for the end
Why would you prepare for your career in your first year? Because you have to, that’s why. When you reach final year and begin applying for jobs, you will find that people with work experience will be the people who get the jobs.
Get your experience in first year.
Generate relationships with people at a company now. Seek out opportunities. Offer your time for free. Then write about it. Put your experience into words. Describe what you have learned. Describe how it is relevant to the job you want. Describe the skills you have demonstrated.
5 Start a business
Nothing shows your get up and go like starting your own business. Strapped for cash? Teach foreign students english, proofread people’s dissertations, clean people’s rooms, set up local companies’ Facebook and Twitter pages and manage their presence. Buy products online and sell them to your course mates. At a higher price than you paid for them, obviously. That’s business. Incidentally, that is also showing commercial awareness. Which you can write about on your Kloodle profile.
All in all, the “first year doesn’t count” mentality is poisonous. You are better than that. Do more. Do more than your peers. Experience more. Have a blast.
But above all, set the tone for success.