Traditionally, careers and professional development during university is stressed as hugely important, and that each student would ideally be planning how to build employability and take small steps on their career journey throughout their degree. But what about now, during the most different of academic years? As priorities shift, so must we.
2020 has no doubt changed how we work, study, and socialise. A virtual academic term has brought its challenges via technology, new learning methods, isolation and feeling homesick if you are far away from your family. Suddenly, maximising your time, in the same way as before, isn’t really realistic for us.
Wellbeing, virtual uni and… careers?
Taking care of our mental and physical wellbeing is really important and support with that during University might come from areas you have not thought about before. Read on to discover how engaging with King’s Careers & Employability can make a difference to your wellbeing now.
Studies in psychological wellbeing describe that wellbeing is shaped by two areas. The first type is something very familiar to us all. It’s your subjective wellbeing, feelings of happiness and positive emotions. The second type of wellbeing is about the wider picture. It includes things that relate to our surroundings, such as a sense of purpose and connectedness with others.
Students across King’s have talked about missing that sense of community that they associate with a university experience. And that feeling of belonging is a big part of your overall wellbeing too.
So, what this shows us is that wellbeing is not just subjective – it is also defined by how we engage with things around us, and the fulfilment we get from it.
Let’s see how careers can support your wellbeing
Ensuring that we take care of the basics of wellbeing are fairly simple – doing enjoyable things, spending time with friends, eating nourishing food and sleeping enough. But how can students increase their sense of purpose and feelings of connectedness to others at King’s? We’d like to suggest three simple starting points.
New activities can help you unwind and relax from your academic schedule
Think of your careers service as a hub of events and opportunities that can connect you to all kinds of exciting opportunities around King’s. Often, we put pressure on ourselves to be busy because of a sense of guilt (“If I don’t book onto events I’m not maximising my time at King’s”) or necessity (“All students in my faculty are expected to have read this”).
How about we align our mindset to put our wellbeing first: “I am booking onto this event because it looks fun and interesting”, “I want to try this KEATS e-learning course because it will help me look at my interests and values with more purpose”, or “I want to listen to a LinkedIn Learning course during my walk in a park”.
Buddying up for careers makes it all more fun (and purposeful)
While our career planning is personal, careers learning doesn’t need to be! To have more fun, feel more purpose in your time at university, and feel connected with others at King’s, connect with a friend or course mate to buddy up for a career activity. Attending a Focused Festival or a webinar event together with someone not only helps you make the most of the activity (especially if you coach each other to make the most of it), it can help you feel closer to new friends, boost your confidence and help you feel a sense of purpose to your life at university.
Engaging with careers opportunities is a great way to feel part of the King’s Community
Together as users of KEATS, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Yammer, Email, and other shared virtual spaces we create a virtual King’s Community. In addition, career events and opportunities are an excellent starting point to being involved with the community at King’s – within and beyond your course and friend group.
All members of King’s community have a voice in these virtual spaces, and voices together create conversation, interaction and togetherness. So, keep doing small things like using the event chat in a friendly, engaged way, unmuting your mic to join the discussion, or replying to another student in the chat. They are actually great ways that you can boost your (and other’s!) feeling of belonging at King’s and practice the skill of networking.
That’s our tips for increasing your wellbeing with careers! Do you feel like your mindset about careers is a little bit changed? That’s great!
King’s Careers & Employability is here for you, wherever you are on your career journey to help you build success in your university life. Explore our KEATS pages and engage with us via social media, one-to-one appointments and through our many events! We look forward to seeing you.
We have released a second part to the themes discussed in this blog… read our article on hustle culture in university, and how students can keep thinking about their future with small steps, without the overwhelming effects.