Written by Patricia Obawole
LLB (Hons) Law
So there I was having just arrived at BU all wide-eyed and nervous and also excited. In the first couple of months of my course we often had people from different departments of the uni come and talk to us about the opportunities there were, but the one that stood out to me most was the Student Development Award.
So what is this award you ask? Well, basically the emphasis is on the substance of the award rather than the award itself. The award is there to showcase all of the extra-curricular activities and the things you do in the university that’s not necessarily part of your course. So, let me set the scene – you’re captain of the football team at uni, you do some odds bits of volunteering with SUBU (help pick up rubbish off the beach, assist with crafting for younger people, and dress up like a dinosaur to help fundraising activities for a local charity, you know, that sort of stuff!). You’ve done so many academic skills workshops that those that organise it know your name and everything else you do! But you don’t think these sorts of activities can go into your CV. No worries, this is where this award steps in, it’s a handy tool to put all these sorts of activities into one central place (Mahara – it’s basically an e-portfolio) and then you put the link of your profile – a bit like LinkedIn, at the bottom of your CV. This way employers can see all the activities you’ve done without them taking up too much space on your CV.
The way it works is that each activity has a certain amount of points allocated, for instance being a Student Ambassador for the uni gives you 10 points, and being involved in Nerve Radio gives you 20 points. So therefore, the more activities you do the more points tally up!!! See – easy peasy.
So what’s the catch? Well, the only thing is that you have to make sure you get a certain amount of points to achieve the award. This year it’s currently 100 points to complete it. But fear not, you can compile the points over two years which just gives you that extra bit of time and means you can still focus on your studies while doing the activities that you love!
The best thing about the award is the ceremony that takes place annually to celebrate those students who have completed it that year. There are fantastic prizes which range from incredible work experience at sponsors’ companies to one-to-one training to help you with public speaking!
All in all the Student Development Award is a brilliant way to get recognition for all the work that you’ve done in the background that otherwise may go unnoticed. The award basically does what it says on the tin – it shows that you’re willing to do more than just the academic side of uni, it shows that you’ve engaged with the wider community and while doing it, it develops you as a person. Which, let’s face it, is one of the aims of university.
Why not give it a try!
By Patricia Obawole