A new life that goes far beyond the limits of the classroom

The years at university are one of the periods of which the best memories are kept throughout life.

A new life that goes far beyond the limits of the classroom

The years at university are one of the periods of which the best memories are kept throughout life. Coming of age coincides with the beginning of a new stage, studies and friendships. In addition to the academic part, the university journey offers a wide variety of experiences that are available to students and that are often unknown. The universities themselves are increasingly working on this aspect. "At UC3M we make a great effort to offer a comprehensive university life, we want to go beyond the development of academic skills so that students also have additional experiences," explains Mónica Campos Gómez, Vice-Rector for Students and Equality at UC3M.

Remember that interacting with the environment that surrounds you enriches young people who "establish new links, speak in front of people they do not know, debate... it gives them a certain capacity for foresight and gives them a guarantee for the professional world." In addition, there is a mutual enrichment, "the university grows, evolves, moves", Campos clarifies.

In the university years it is also very common to create or be part of an association that sometimes disappears when the studies are finished. At UC3M there are around 70, very varied, «that have the capacity to generate attractive activities. Some are very established and are passed from one student to another, "says the vice-rector. The University gives them the support to consolidate and carry out the procedures and projects are subsidized annually. Campos feels that students are increasingly demanding and believes that when choosing a center, everything that the university offers you has a lot of weight, not just the chosen degree.

Leonor Gallardo Guerrero, vice-rector for Coordination, Communication and Promotion of the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM), points out the commitment to the professional and personal growth of students and for this "we are committed to international mobility, university volunteering, awareness environment, cultural enrichment or sports practice". Therefore, "we make life on campus more dynamic with initiatives that no student should miss out on," she adds. In addition, she points out that studying in small cities has undeniable advantages. In the case of UCLM, "it is betting on a more affordable and healthy way of life without giving up academic rigor and excellence in our academic offer and services".

For those who leave family and city to continue their studies, the experience will be even more enriching. Whether sharing a house, in a residence hall or in a student residence, separating from your comfort environment will be a new challenge. But also some of these options entails an added plus. «The halls of residence are a university 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are university centers and we train our students through democratic participation in the life of the school and through the many extracurricular activities that take place each academic year”, begins by explaining Juan Muñoz, president of the Council of University Halls of Residence in Spain. «Many of them are open to the entire university community and to society in general: conferences, courses, workshops, theatre, gatherings, concerts, sports, etc. With our activity we bring great value to university students, campuses and society », he adds. There is something that characterizes the young people who go through a residence hall, "they have decided to live in a large community, with what that implies, and to do so outside their home, which allows them to promote their learning, training and maturation process by living with very diverse people”, highlights Muñoz. The young people who go through the schools, from 18 to 22 years old, «are eager to learn, to live, to share, to take on the world, to leave their home, to open up and to share their university stage with colleagues from very diverse background, so they are usually open and tolerant people. Thanks to the extracurricular activities that they carry out there, "students acquire transversal skills such as analytical thinking, creativity, negotiation, teamwork, communication skills, etc., highly valued in the world of work."

If we talk about residences, «they offer multiple benefits that improve the development of university life for students. They provide comfort, security and confidence, and an environment that fosters their personal and professional growth”, says Carmen Tena, director of the El Faro university residence in Madrid. The facilities of these spaces are designed to improve academic performance, "but they also have spaces dedicated to sports, music or culture to meet the needs and concerns of students." It is common to organize events and professional training that complement university education and offer experiences that guarantee the intellectual and personal growth of students. "Workshops with useful content on topics of interest to this generation of students, such as sustainability or healthy eating," says Tena. It is more common for first-year students to choose to be in a residence. "They find in our residences comfort and all the facilities they could have at home: full board, a varied and healthy menu, as well as a team of committed professionals willing to solve any problem." From this residence they help in the transition period, "facilitating their adaptation to university life and to a new city so that they only have to worry about their university career and living this stage fully".

Working during the university stage is very common. Sometimes, sporadically or during vacations, to get extra money, and others out of necessity, to be able to pay for studies or expenses, especially when changing cities. But beyond the economic part, it means assuming responsibilities and gaining experience that will be taken into account in a professional future. In the first years of the degree, it is generally difficult to find an occupation related to studies, but the market has different possibilities that adapt to the needs of university students. «It is usual that there is a certain stable offer of jobs with days that allow accounting with studies or other jobs. In the case of Randstad, approximately 15% of the offers are part-time”, indicates Valentín Bote, director of Randstad Research.

It is true that the health crisis impacted the entire labor market and "many of these positions were especially affected because they were jobs for the public," recalls Bote. However, today, the offer has recovered remarkably, "even more than the average for the economy, thanks in part to the notable increase in sectors in which this type of position is usually common," he adds.

The most common sectors in which university students find work are those related to tourism and hospitality, 'contact center', administration and positions in the industrial sector. “Employers, regardless of the type of day, usually appreciate the proactivity, willingness and learning capacity of the candidates. If, in addition, they offer some experience in similar positions, even better”, comments the director of Randstad Research.

Working while studying is always an advantage for the future employment of young people «because it generates experience and promotes their employability. In fact, we recommend that the work stages and the study stages are not differentiated, but merged throughout the entire trajectory of the workers.