We have all been there in the job interview when the dreaded ‘Tell me about yourself’ question comes up. You stutter, normally an incredibly charismatic person but now utterly lost for words. How do you in that instant convey that you are indeed their ideal candidate…?
University for one person may represent a completely different time than for another, but one thing is for certain: it is THE best three years of your life.
Catering for 36,000 students, Nottingham University can offer an incoming student pretty much anything they want, and it is this freedom of choice that makes for such incredible opportunities and experiences whilst at University. Whether you are driven by sport, drama, music, Quidditch or Hide and Seek, University provides you with the option of pursuing and enjoying these activities whilst meeting new people with similar interests.
Karnival is one of 9 Student Run Services, and is the way in which I have chosen to engage with the extracurricular activities on offer during my time here. Although I originally entered into the Karnival infrastructure as a result of enjoying Rag Raids and the idea of tackling Kilimanjaro, it was impossible to not become attached to charitable causes that benefit from the success of 7-legged or conquering Africa’s highest summit.
Although many of these encounters facilitate a superb time in the present, what is often overlooked is the influence that they also have when approaching the end of our time at University. As part of Nottingham University your student card pretty much guarantees you two things, a free cheeseburger at McDonalds and a 2:1. As a result there is an increasing emphasis on what you have to offer other than straight academics, and THAT is what employers want to see in CV’s and hear at interviews. Think of it like Tinder, your picture is your degree, it gets you the date, but if that’s all you have to offer, you’re never getting past the first one. With an increase in fees there is no denying that everyone is engaging more with their degree, but it is equally as important to reflect upon the skills that you are picking up by getting involved in other facets of University life.
There is a myth that the charity sector is one way system; however a large sum of the skills picked up by reps and exec alike result in invaluable experience that is widely sought after. Karnival offers three tiers of engagement, all of which provide the opportunity to be actively involved in a variety of appealing events, whilst also obtaining employable skills. While at the time it may appear like you are not building your CV, you would be surprised how interested employers are in what Karnival has to offer.
The first tier of engagement sees the chance to benefit hugely inan indirect way from the collections, international challenge events and volunteering opportunities that are on offer to any person at the university during their first year. These demonstrate that you are a confident individual that is willing to execute charming sales-esque skills in order to raise money for worthwhile causes.
The next level facilitates the acquisition of an array of skills vital to a graduates CV in the form of a Karnival Rep. In your time you will learn to; promote and market a variety of events and challenges, to procure a sense of leadership and responsibility when hosting Karnival activities, and to demonstrate that they can come together with 5-7 others to successfully work as a team and contribute significant charitable funds to Europe’s largest student-run fundraising organisation.
Finally you have the executive tier. This provides an opportunity to establish and implement the variety of skills you have obtained, and allows any innovative ideas you have to come to fruition. In essence you are one of eleven students who collectively man-manage a 126 strong team, facilitate and market large-scale international and national events, and run what is essentially a profitable organisation that is recognised by many businesses and graduate schemes across the country.
To look an employer in the eye and say that you made it to Everest Base Camp, or to the top of the Incan ruins, or that you gave up several Saturdays in first year to collect money for a variety of charities speaks volumes. You are immediately a self-determined, motivated individual driven by an idea, and it these kinds of opportunities that Karnival provides to thousands of students each year.
…so you are sat across the desk from three rather intimidating potential employees, tongue tied and beginning to perspire. What are you going to say?
by Tom Goodman, Karnival Director 2014