Advice to my first-year self

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By Kevin Kapezi LLB Law with Business degree NTU Alumni 

During my time at university, I studied a three year Law with Business full-time undergraduate degree. I had just completed sixth form and also taken a gap year to live and work in my new city, Nottingham. This was my first experience of independence in terms of both studies and lifestyle.

The average student has to balance studies, work and social life as well as new found responsibilities such as paying your own bills. Getting the balance right is quite a challenge! However, if I were a student again I would perhaps do the following differently #selfcare:
1. Savings
Going into university, I was just approaching 20 years of age. I had been working since I was 18 on a part-time basis. So, you would expect that I would have saved up a pot of funds in case of emergencies when I eventually went to university – right? Wrong.

I did what any young person normally does and spend my money on worthless things such as clothes and trainers that, when looking back were a complete waste of money. Trends come and go and I had accumulated plenty of baggy jeans and expensive trainers that I honestly wouldn’t see myself wearing again.

Looking back, I wish I’d saved up all the money I wasted on expensive clothing and set up a separate bank account for savings. Like many students, I didn’t have the luxury of relying on ‘the bank of mum and dad’.

2. Healthier lifestyle
I’m now nearly 29 and one thing I’ve learned over the years is that exercise is so important for your overall wellbeing. Here are a couple reasons why:

  • Character

Firstly, it builds character and a routine which bodes well for discipline. Discipline is an area that I could have improved on immensely at uni. I missed so many dreaded 9am lectures because I just ‘couldn’t be bothered’ to get up and take that 10 min walk to the lecture theatre!

I’m now witnessing my nephew waking up at 6am every morning to do some group exercise with his mates. He’s possibly a bit extreme but my goodness is he disciplined. This is also showing in terms of his uni results entering into his final year, he is on track for a 2.1 or First

  • Extra boost

Secondly, since I’ve started my fitness journey, I now realise how much more energy I have. At uni, I was always tired and often took the mid afternoon nap. I think doing some exercise adds an extra spring in your step.

Naturally, I also tend to eat healthier when I go to the gym. This means less fatigue from alcohol and late night McDonald’s or kebab shop trips and more healthier breakfasts, prepped lunches and home cooked suppers.

It’s also great for self-confidence and boosts your self-esteem. In terms of self care, you need both when socialising at university.

3. Network professionally
My final bit of advice to my younger self is to network like my future depends on it – because it really does. The old saying, ‘your network is your net worth’ is definitely true. The countless number of networking events that I didn’t go to were certainly missed opportunities.

I studied a pretty broad degree because, in all honesty, I had no idea what I wanted to do. This lead me down a path of working in a string of customer service jobs, then later finance and eventually changing my career path to marketing. This means I essentially wasted over two years invested in finance – an area I had no passion in whatsoever.

I later met someone who introduced me to digital marketing – an area I didn’t even know existed as a stand alone industry. I then studied a course which then led me to where I am now. However, if I had networked like my life depended on it, I probably would have discovered this career path a lot sooner.

Changing careers isn’t so bad. I’ve gained plenty of transferable skills. But, I’m now in an industry where it’s pretty common for directors to be in their mid to late 20s. If you’re ambitious and want to do well early on in life then networking is vital.

So, with that being said, my final advice to my teenage self would be to network professionally early on with people who could help shape my career.

About the author:
Kevin Kapezi graduated in 2013 with a LLB Law with Business degree from Nottingham Trent University. He’s now a well-rounded digital marketer with over 3 years of experience. At Hallam, Kevin’s role is an Owned Media Consultant specializing in SEO, CRO, Content and Email Marketing. Hallam is a multi-award-winning, strategic digital marketing agency for brands that want to thrive in the digital world.

 

For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.

Support from NTU
Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
Depression advice
Counselling
Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
Struggling at Uni? Go to Student Minds
10 Keys to happiness

Employability Support at NTU

This post is part of our regular NTU Alumni feature. Over the next few weeks we will be posting guest blogs written by our Alumni Fellows sharing their experiences and tips on their student journey while here at NTU.
If you are an NTU graduate and are interested in writing for us contact: alumni.fellows@ntu.ac.uk
You can find more information about our Alumni Fellowship volunteering programme via the alumni website

 

 


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