‘I don’t have time.’
‘I don’t have contacts’
‘I don’t have resources’….
I don’t want to hear it.
There is so much you can do with limited ‘traditional’ resources. Resources to get started are out there, and so are people who are willing to help you.
You might have read my article on http://www.themediapod.net website (and re-posted as a blog below here) titled ‘Grasp Every Opportunity as a Student’. Maybe you thought what I did was outrageous, maybe you thought it impossible.
Well, it was not impossible, and in fact, many of the extra-curricular activities, one-off jobs, volunteering or not that I completed, didn’t even make the cut on the post.
If you want something bad enough, opportunities arise, but you have to work for it.
You might start thinking, ‘Well, you were a mature aged student, you had more money, more time and more contacts to get things done.’ Wrong.
I had drive. But the contacts I had were new. The industry I was moving into was new, and the money I had was basically none.
One key thing I didn’t talk about in the ‘Grasp’ article was the way I was able to use all of the resources available to me, including at the University, to help achieve the steps above.
Pre and during my ‘do-over’ I lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment the size of an average CEO’s office, or likely their walk-in closet. I had a laptop, and a 3Mobile dongle with 1GB per month of internet access, no smart phone, printer, Foxtel, wi-fi etc.
I would walk to the train station and catch the train to the city where my girlfriend was enrolled at Melbourne’s RMIT city campus. Using her student login, I would sit all day in the library using free internet to study, write blogs, send out my resume to potential places to write and work for. All I wanted was ‘An opportunity to contribute’.
If I search the words ‘opportunity to contribute’ in my yahoo mail account, tens of emails come up, with those words as the subject. It was my tag line and theme of the emails I reached out to people with ‘Opportunity to contribute to …. Insert Magazine, Website, Sports Team, company’.
When I started at Deakin I was determined to take full advantage of everything on offer. It was like a playground for an adult determined to learn and improve themselves. Cafes, library, internet, gym, and learning.
Below are a list of the things I tried at Deakin, and should have done, but was too young, or disinterested to do the first time around.
- I went often to the ‘Job Shop’ at Deakin, asking advice, asking for meetings to discuss my options. I asked them directly for help. I was older than most of their employees, but they were there for us, so I used them. I was there for the free classes on how to shape your resume for optimal effect. How to write the perfect cover-letter. They were of immense help when I was going for the job with the SUNS, I spent a whole week there once waiting in line doing the free-hour to have them help me shape my resume to perfection!
- I talked to my lecturers and tutors! Seems amazing to say now, but small things like that, speaking in class – I never would have done it the first time I went to Uni, when I was like a mute. They gave me advice, helped me shape my portfolio, put me in contact with their contacts and so on.
- I said YES to extra-curricular activities – whether I took them up or not, I did listen.
- I explored the University. I inquired about contributing to the Deakin Newspaper/Magazine.
- I went to the Arts Office to inquire* about my subjects, constantly making sure I was doing the correct units to keep me on my path (another thing that young Ryan thought, oh well, it will work itself out – then you end up majoring in Sociology).
*My inquiries helped me cut one full year off my course at Deakin, and had me graduating in two years instead of three, using credits from my previous course. I could have studied the third year, but if you couldn’t tell I was trying to do as much as soon as possible, and waiting another year to crack into my passion was not an option.