Nowadays, as I wake up most mornings to auto-rejection emails from graduate jobs, I cannot help but reflect on the last four years and wish that I had done more to prepare for this moment. If I could do it all over again, I would do some things exactly the same and some things completely differently. So, here is my money and careers advice, as I retire from my position of money editor and graduate from university.
The first piece of advice I can offer is something that I did during my last two years here: get free loyalty cards. Whenever you are going to live somewhere for a time period like four years, it is worth it to go get loyalty cards for your favorite businesses. I recommend getting a Tesco, Boots and Ryman card because you get discounts every time you shop.
While shopping at Tesco can save you money, I also recommend shopping at local businesses and going to the Farmer’s Market. St Andrews and Fife have excellent products from meat to vegetables to cheese and it’s important to take advantage. The local business community in St Andrews is very strong and eager, they are even hosting a Food and Drink Festival this whole month to promote local business. So it’s worth it to support them, even though sometimes it can be a little more expensive.
On the career side of things, my main piece of advice is probably something you’ve heard before: network. The Careers Centre works really hard to bring us interesting alumni speakers from all different fields in order to educate us and get us some first-hand advice when we start our internship or job hunting. Shake hands with the speaker, ask a question, and get his or her email address. Alumni love to chat about their time at St Andrews and what their lives have been like since they left. Ask them questions and listen to what advice they have. The most important thing I’ve learned while job hunting is to get out of your comfort zone. Don’t listen to your doubts, just apply for jobs, ask questions, connect with people, you never know where it’s going to get you.
The other things I’ve learned during my time here are more obvious: don’t spend all your money trying to go to every ball, keep track of how much you are spending on a night out and be organised about things like gas, electricity and wifFi bills. Basically, be responsible and think about your future. Have sympathy for fourth year you when you are deciding whether or not to apply for that internship.