Seven tips on how you can gain experience as a student

Your time as a student is filled with study, friends and of course a party or two. But the student years also offer several opportunities to gather experience that equips you for life after graduation. Mostafa Saleh, former student ambassador at MDU, shares his top tips on how to gather experience as a student.

Student Mostafa Saleh

− All commitment counts! You can start with something small which will then lead to the next opportunity, says Mostafa Saleh, who is studying on the Master of Science in Engineering, specialising in industrial economics.

He says his journey began with an interest in helping other students. Through this, he created a wide network of contacts with students from different cohorts, which opened up new opportunities.

−I decided to become a SI leader* already in the second year. This job has improved my communication skills and has given me more self-confidence. I chose to become a student ambassador because I care about my higher education institution and try in every possible way to be a helping hand for both students and staff, says Mostafa Saleh.

In addition to encouraging Mostafa Saleh to become a student ambassador, the job as SI leader also led to a position as a teacher on the course Vector Algebra.

−This position opened my eyes to the teaching profession. I am passionate about helping other students and am incredibly happy when I can help others, he says.

Mostafa Saleh has taken advantage of his opportunities and has been a corporate host at the Högvarv labour market trade fair, he has participated at the Saco trade fair in Stockholm and been part of the project group for Musikhjälpen.

Although he has had time to commit to many activities during his student years, he points out that nothing happens by itself, instead you must work for it – and plan.

− Planning is the be all and end all if you want to succeed in gathering experience during your student years. If you are good at planning, you can find gaps in your schedule that you can then fill up with different activities. Discipline is necessary so as not to fall behind in your planning and thus be able to fulfil your plans, says Mostafa Saleh.

He also says that it helps to be outgoing and open to new opportunities, but that you should only take on as much as you think you can handle.

− It's not always easy to keep a lot of balls in the air, so I think you should focus on one ball at a time. In this way, you can fully devote your attention to everything you do, says Mostafa Saleh.

Mostafa's three top tips for gathering experience as a student:

  • Start with a small project and build on it. It's impossible to know how far you can go if you don't test it.
  • Keep your eyes open and talk to people. Be outgoing and show your best side no matter who you meet. You never know where or from whom your next opportunity will come from.
  • Stick to your plan. Good planning means that you have time for your extra activities while at the same time you don’t fall behind in your studies.

Four more tips!

  • Get involved with the student union. They arrange several events that can give you knowledge that you can benefit from in your working life.
  • Start a blog. If you enjoy writing or have a special interest in it, a blog is a great way to showcase your talents. It's also a great way to expand your network.
  • Don't be afraid of volunteer work. Even if you don't get paid for your efforts, that doesn't mean the experience you gain doesn't count.
  • Keep in mind sports activities are also a source of gaining experience. You will learn about teamwork and discipline. If you are also a captain of the team, you can count this leadership as an experience.

* SI = Samverkansinlärning, (Collaborative learning) SI-PASS (Supplemental Instruction-Peer Assisted Study Sessions) is an educational model based on collaborative learning, where students meet regularly in smaller study groups under the leadership of an SI leader.