From surviving first year to thriving in your career

by Jan 17, 2020

With orientation fast approaching, whether you’re about to start your first year of uni or have long since graduated, it’s good to reflect on the lessons you learn when commencing university study and how it can continue to positively impact your work life.

So, how do you apply the soft skills gained from uni to the workplace?

1. Break that ice!

While a lot of us despise the cheesy icebreaker questions tutors love to use in week 1, they’re actually quite useful when it comes to practicing your elevator pitch. Really listen to what everyone else in your class says and think about what makes their intros work, what might need a little adjusting, and how you can use some of their techniques. (Then you can take that elevator pitch to the upcoming Careers Fair and wow some employers!).

In a job interview, one of the first questions you’ll usually get is the open ended “tell us a little about yourself”. Your first week at uni is your chance to practice answering what can be a really tricky question in a safe, low-pressure environment, while maybe even making a few uni friends!

2. Get real about getting organised

You’ve probably heard it said before that busy people are the most organised, but there are only so many calendars, diaries, or colour-coded folders that you can use unless you commit to organising your life in a real way. This includes the boring things like designating study or assignment time, as well as social and downtime. While it can be tough, think about it like training for the workforce – there’s not much employers value more than an organised, punctual, and thorough employee.

Speaking of planning, one of the best things about UTS’s timetabling system is that you get to choose what works for YOU. Are you an early riser or a night owl? Do you prefer a couple of busy days of back-to-back classes or would you prefer to spread your study out? The same can be said for the workplace! If you get into the habit of planning your day around how you best work, you’ll be much more productive than if you force yourself into a schedule that doesn’t fit your style.

3. Your health is your wealth

Your first year of uni can be tough on your health, but it’s important to make decisions that are going to positively impact you physically, mentally, and even socially. Putting in the work to build healthy habits will also set you up to succeed once you enter the workforce!

For example, getting a group of friends together for work-out sessions is a great way to exercise without sacrificing your social life, and considering UTS Gym is right here on campus it’s super easy too! At work, you can continue the tradition by walking/biking to work if you can, or even doing a lunchtime trip to the gym with your work buddies. And don’t forget to look after your mental health! Your first year of uni can be overwhelming, which is why UTS has a range of services available to help you out.

4. Let’s stick together

Uni becomes so much more fun with a supportive network to build you up and help you succeed. Just as you can improve study sessions by meeting up with other people in your class, work becomes infinitely better with lunch breaks taken with colleagues.

Remember that having a network around you will assist you with academics as well as your future work life; speaking to your tutors and lecturers might reveal job opportunities you hadn’t considered, your LinkedIn network could help you break into the hidden job market, and uni friends might know about internships perfect for you. If you surround yourself with people who want the best for you, both in work and study, just step back and watch yourself flourish!


Whether you’re just starting out or an expert already, take advantage of the skills you learn at uni to create the healthiest, happiest, and most productive future you that you can!


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

Lily Cameron

Lily Cameron

Social Media Intern

Lily Cameron is a writer and editor based in Sydney. She is a Communications (Creative Writing) student at UTS, Fiction and Online Editor for Vertigo magazine, and current Social Media Intern at UTS Careers. She is passionate about telling stories, both hers and others’, and the way digital and social media is changing the literary landscape. Her writing has appeared in Vertigo, Filter, and The Brag.