In the midst of the application window, there are certain non-negotiables which have to take place such as researching firms or gaining valuable experiences. However, there are smaller things which contribute to the wider success of an application, but could easily be forgotten. In this article, Blaise Nsenguwera talks about some of the small things which helped him stand out and made the application process much easier.
In first year of university, I participated in various open days and work experiences. However, it became apparent that once I left, I could not recall most of the key information or any key contacts that I had met. A solution to this was to carry a notepad to all events and write down information of the people I met and key information about the firms. This significantly made it easier to implement these experiences in my application because the information was readily accessible in my notes.
Taking notes also allowed me to write down instructions from supervisors about various work. As a university student, I found that it can be sometimes difficult to comprehend all the instructions the first time hearing it. This led to me repeatedly going back to my supervisor for further explanation of my task, which could come across as a lack of concentration. However, taking notes solved this because it wasn’t a case of memorising what they had told me, but instead it provided me with a written record which I could refer back to as many times as necessary.
Preparing for unknown unknowns
While most of us are good at planning for things we know will happen (known knowns), it can be sometimes difficult to think about things which are not expected to happen. However, throughout my journey, I realised that things which set me back the most were those which I didn’t expect and therefore had not accommodated in my planning. This includes things like delayed trains, unexpected traffic or unexpected work which may arise. To deal with this issue, I implemented a schedule which not only considers things I know I have to do, but also provides enough time for me to react to unexpected events. This can be done, for example, by setting yourself a target to complete an essay or an application a week before the deadline. This will allow you to be flexible with your time if something unexpected arises.
By preparing for unknown unknowns, I was able to ensure that I arrived to places on time, completed work by the deadline whilst also dealing with the every day surprises that arise.
Although getting a rest might sound like a simple task, the pressure of the application process and deadlines sometimes makes it difficult. Nevertheless, the significance of a good rest should not be underestimated. Working hard is necessary but there is a risk of “burning out” which stagnates long term productivity. Therefore, when planning your schedule, it is vital to implement some rest days. This will allow you to step away from work and implement other activities such as spending time with family or exercising. Most importantly, having a good rest allows your body and mind to re-energise which enables you to sustain productivity.
If you find that you are unable to take a whole day to rest, it can also be helpful to implement short rest periods in the mornings or evenings. On the LPC, I found this method to be extremely helpful as it allowed me to stay on top of work without overworking myself.
There are many small factors which can contribute to success, but the key is finding out what works for you. The purpose is to find things which make the application process less daunting whilst contributing towards your productivity and motivation.