Yes, the social side of campus life is fun. It’s also a magnificent feeling that some days of the week my alarm goes off after the sunrise. But let’s not kid around, I returned to Essex as a postgraduate student because I want to progress my career. 

After four years of hard graft in the relentless world of journalism, I realised a change was needed. A Masters degree in marketing, an industry I found boundlessly fascinating, was my goal. 

A photo of a desk with a laptop, writing notepaper, pens and other items on top.

Having read all the prospectuses and course breakdowns my retinas could handle, I identified Essex as my preferred destination. This was not only down to the MA Advertising, Marketing and the Media impressing me more than any other course, but because of the professional development opportunities on offer. Safe to say, I have not been disappointed.

I’m writing this blog as part of my role on this year’s Frontrunners, a unique paid internship programme run by the University. In the scheme, students can work with a range of departments to develop the skills needed to stand out when seeking graduate work. There are even additional vacancies — called Frontrunners Plus — reserved specifically for students like me who are, shall we say, a little less fresh-faced?

Photo of one side of the Albert Sloman Library, highlighting the concrete and glass architecture of the building.

While I feel incredibly fortunate to have been given this chance, it’s not the only work experience I’m undertaking here. Twice a week I work in the University’s Media Centre, helping students on creative courses with all things technical. 

It’s fair to say I’m keeping busy. By the time I graduate I might need to reduce the font size on my CV. My experience of finding interesting work on campus is by no means unusual, however. Lots of people I’ve got to know during the first term have also taken on jobs relevant to their studies, all of which are easy to find and apply for on the CareerHub page. There are lots of graduate jobs and graduate schemes listed, too.

Photo of a female waitress waving her hand. She is wearing an apron which says CAFE and has a ornamental pipeapple on her head. In the background is the Lakeside Theatre Cafe.

One of the University’s mantras is that students should never be passive. While studying here we’re all expected to challenge the status quo and be bold. That’s also the case in work placements. While nobody is spoon-fed, there are a smorgasbord of opportunities awaiting all Essex students hungry for change. My advice to you? Tuck in.