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It is possible for you to start preparing yourself for the workplace, well before you actually get there. The best way to do this is by adopting certain approaches as a university student. The way you act and the choice you make, they are all parts of who you become when you leave university and go out into the big wide world.

A good way to look at this is by looking at the person who does the opposite; the person who, rather than going out of their way to ingratiate themselves with others, sticks to their own and never strays. These people won’t even wander over to the other side of the room to see what other members of the class are up to. These are the people who didn’t choose their university or their subject by sitting down and thinking about what they wanted to do with their lives.

These are people who chose their university and their subject by going up to their friends in sixth form and asking them where they were going and what subject they were going to do. It is these people who are going to really struggle in the workplace, because they find themselves so far outside of their comfort zone that it becomes impossible to feel normal in the workplace. This is an extreme example but it’s meant to be, because it makes it all the more easier to highlight the correct approach to university life, and an approach that is not only going to make the workplace enjoyable, but is going to make you into a massive asset to your employer – especially as a young person.

It is all about placing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Doing things that you are not necessarily comfortable with sits well within the no-pain-no-gain remit. If you are scared to do something then a lot of the time it will stand you in good stead. It’ll be the making of you, life-affirming: but why? Because it’s what everyone else is scared to do also, and if you can be the one that rises above the fear then you can be the one that everyone looks up to and admires. So what are these scary things?

It’s the same things that have scared people since the dawn of civilisation; meeting new people, getting up and talking in front of groups of people, removing yourself from the comfort of your friends. Purposefully putting yourself in the company of people who are different to you be it their ethnicity, class, background, interests or anything else that makes you feel that all-consuming fear of the unknown.

We are all held back in life because of our hideous tendency to ruminate. Instead of following our instinct to go over there and talk to them, or get up and say what we want, we think about what other people will think and we back ourselves into a corner. In the end we do nothing and we say nothing. We become mediocre. The advice here, for an easy path into the workplace, is to get yourself out there and embrace people. Most of all though, embrace yourself.

This post was written on behalf of OCVC.