Working 9-5:30 for the last year has allowed me to reflect on the opportunities that we as students often take for granted. I met several people during my placement who wished they could turn back the clock and make better use of their time.
In particular, if you want to start up a business, I believe that being a university student is the best time to pursue this and here’s why.
- No real commitment:- Our main priority at university is to pass our degree, however other than that we have no real obligations. We aren’t tied down by any financial commitments such as bills, a mortgage and assuming we don’t have a family to provide for we only have ourselves to look after, giving us the freedom to pursue anything we want.
- Access to resources:-
- Mentors – Most if not all universities have an enterprise society or centre which offers mentors to students who are looking to start up their own business. They will give you industry advice and essential professional consulting all for free.
- Workshops – Along side mentors these departments will also provide entrepreneurial events/workshops in marketing, social media presence, strategy, start-up law, financing etc. All of which in the ‘real world’ would cost you £100‘s just to attend one course.
- Financing – There are multiple grants and schemes that you can apply for, for example the University of surrey runs the business enterprise student support scheme which offers students up to £5000 towards research, creating prototypes, market analysis, the list goes on. Similarly, with the recent popularity of crowdfunding it has never been easier to raise money for your start-up.
- Broad social network:– University is essentially a talent pool, when else in your life will you have access to such a variety of people from different social, economical, religious backgrounds who all hold different talents all in one place. The great thing about students is that they are more likely to do things for free, just for the experience or in return for a pint down the pub. So if you’re an arts student needing some IT assistance to create a website, you can put up a few posters around campus or send out some emails to societies and you’ll be almost guaranteed a reply by the end of the week.
- A lot of free time:- Unless you’re a medical or engineering student chances are you have an average of 10-20 hours of lectures per week. This leaves you with quite a bit of free time to invest in something you are passionate about. It will be a lot more beneficially to you (even if it’s just from the skills you gain) to pursue your dream than to spend hours in your room catching up on the latest season of orange is the new black.
- Good time to make mistakes:- University to me is like a training ground for the real world, we have the opportunity to gain life skills, build lasting friendships/relationships, find our hobbies, explore different career paths and make mistakes. Not saying that after university you wont make mistakes but I think you should make as many mistakes as possible and learn from them whilst you have little responsibility and you have less to lose.
- Risk-taking & Flexibility:- Someone in their 20’s is more likely to have innovative ideas and are more prone to taking risks than any other time in their lives. Most students are used to living off instant noodles and sacrificing sleep to meet coursework deadlines or study for an exam. However, as we get older our bodies become less tolerable to this, so we have to make use of our flexibility now. Once you get into a structured 9-5 job, it will be a lot harder to sacrifice meals or our social life to accommodate following our dreams/passions.
So, if you have a business idea don’t sit on it – NOW is the time to pursue it. Even if it doesn’t end up being a huge success, there are valuable skills that you would have learnt along the way that could give you the experience to start a more successful business in the future. if this isn’t so at least you will have the satisfaction of not being like the majority of people who regret that they didn’t at least try.
By Toro Kehinde
Twitter & Instagram: @toro_ox