10 tips to use ‘lock down’ to your advantage

macro shot of stainless steel padlock

We’re all facing uncertain times at the moment and with face to face classes cancelled it may feel like University is over. While it’d be easy to sit around and storm through your newest PS4 game or laugh your day away on TikTok, when things go back to normal you might wish you’d used your time differently.

We’ve put together some top tips to keep you on track and to get the most out of your spare time whether you’re still on campus or have returned home.

1. Still attend ALL your classes!

This is a dream come true, you don’t have to leave your bed to make that 9AM Monday morning lecture. Attend and engage with your online sessions from wherever and however you’re most comfortable. Couch, bed, cat on your knee? You do you.

2. Catch up on allllllll the things

Missed classes, helping your coursemates, extra reading…things come up and stuff gets pushed further and further down the to-do list, we get it. Now is the time to tick these extra bits off your list. It’ll clear your inbox and your conscience – no more ‘I’ve got so much to do’ anxiety

3.Get ahead

Even better than catching up is getting ahead; have a look at Moodle, could you do next week’s reading this week? How about making a timetable? Put all those colourful pens and washi tape to good use – think about when will you study/work/relax during this time. If you really want to go for it, start thinking about next year and how you’re going to spend your summer.

4.Do your research

Have you looked in to future careers? Are you on track? Do you need think about getting more experience? These are big questions, but important ones. Read around your degree, where does it take people? Try and come up with some transferrable skills you’ve got from university that you can apply to different job roles. You don’t always need to go into a certain industry because that’s what your degree was in. Read studies/stories/articles in fields you’re interested in, you never know when it might come in useful.

5.Get some rest

Take this time to have plenty of breaks, follow Government guidance but make sure you get some kind of fresh air or exercise each day. Go for a solo walk and focus on anything that’s not work/uni/virus related: local wildlife, how nice the daffodils look, what people have done with their gardens. Pop on your favourite music and go for a solo run, play a yoga video from YouTube or try your hand at baking something new. You can work at a slower pace now and really recharge those batteries.

6.You better WERK

So what about those bits between rests? Now that you don’t have as many social commitments and don’t have to travel to university for classes, you may find yourself with MORE time on your hands. Make sure you use that for good, there’s a ton of things you could do that would give you a great advantage on your CV. Learn a new skill, do an online course, listen to audiobooks, volunteer remotely…employers want employees with industry skills as well as soft skills.

7.Give yourself something extra

Thought you didn’t have time for SALA? Now, you do! The introduction and core talks are being delivered remotely and the skills developments can be done by completing online courses or watching online talks/lectures (not course lectures tho). All of the tasks are on My Careers Centre where you can also complete online personality tests to find out more about yourself and how you work.  

8.Volunteer

There are LOTS of people around us in need, especially now. Lots of charities will be glad of the extra help so approach a local organisation and see what you can do. It’s vital that you volunteer safely, even if you feel fine you may be putting vulnerable others at risk so follow any instructions you’re given. It doesn’t have to be official volunteering either, you could engage (safely) with your community; offer to call elderly neighbours to reduce feeling of loneliness, if someone is isolated with young children offer to pick up some shopping for them next time you go for essentials – you can leave it on the doorstep to avoid close contact.

9.Spend time with loved ones

Some of you may have now returned home, this means extra time with your family when you would have normally been at university. Cherish that and enjoy the comfort of being home, if your family members are at home too why not do things together to help pass the time? Get mum to teach you the family secret to a perfect Victoria sponge or dad to teach you how to change a tyre. If your family aren’t blessed in the vocational department you could try boardgames to give yourselves a break from a Netflix binge. Maybe give Monopoly a miss though…

10.Get thinking and reflect

What do you want to do after university? Reflect on this academic year, would you change anything you’ve been doing? If you’re Level C or I; could you do anything differently next year? How might you engage more on campus? What do you want to achieve?

In all of this, the most important thing is that you keep safe and well. Avoid going out with your mates – this isn’t Easter break, it’s a shutdown to prevent the spread of a lethal virus. How you use the time is ultimately up to you, but you have a wonderful opportunity here to do something different and make yourself stand out to employers.

What will you be doing in your spare time? Tell us your top tips for working in the shut down and we’ll feature a selection in our next blog! (Comment or email careers@hope.ac.uk)

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