Studying is stressful – work experience is where the real learning happens

Most universities give students around five months holiday a year – plenty of time to do something life-enhancing.


My first year of university felt like a waste of time. I lost hours of sleep over feeling not clever enough, constantly weighing the option of dropping out against my lack of any plan B.


I trudged through the university process, eventually finishing my first year – which was meant to be the “fun year” – with little enthusiasm for the future.


But that summer, everything changed. Desperate to break free from my gloomy existence, I applied to work as a senior mentor for the National Citizen Service, a kind of condensed Duke of Edinburgh programme for 15- to 17-year-olds. I was accepted, and was soon in a job for the first time since my year 9 paper round.


It was the perfect summer job: it was well paid, not boring and fairly easy. The experience bolstered my self-confidence, and added a much-needed bullet point to my CV. Both helped in a later successful application to intern at the Raindance Film Festival: a fun few weeks and another bullet point.


Read more