When encountering a module with its most prominent phrases being ‘future career’ or ‘digital confidence’, I automatically decided that I would instantly despise applying myself to what this module had to offer. My initial instinctive response to was to avoid confronting what I had assumed would just expose all my weaknesses that I did not really have the incentive to currently face. However, upon (somewhat hesitantly) completing a confidence and digital skills questionnaire, I immediately recognised that it was a vital component in establishing my newfound confidence and desire to constantly work towards self-improvement.
Confronting my strengths and weaknesses
Completing the questionnaire was pivotal in allowing me to pinpoint where my specific weaknesses and room for improvement lies; this was a positive shift from initially perceiving the entire topic of confidence and careers as daunting and unattainable. I recognised that much of my uncertainty revolved around how to effectively recognise and present my strengths to others, becoming aware of this allowed me to understand that it is not enough to not only feel confident, but to also be able to be perceived as confident by others. I also learnt that there are no negative outcomes from this sort of questionnaire, as ultimately being more self-aware will always be useful.
The illusion of structure and perfection
Being within a university environment can initially form this illusion that everyone knows exactly what they are striving to work towards and are aware of every step required to achieve their goals. However, resources such as this questionnaire revealed that ultimately everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and it is important to remember how personal the process of making decisions about your future actually is. It can easily feel isolating if nobody else appears to struggle in the same ways as you, but this just shows that the conversation surrounding the illusion of preparedness and structure in university students needs to be expanded further.
It is all well and good to be made aware of your own personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as being assured that everyone on your university course and beyond will also have skills and weaknesses which may or may not be similar to your own. However, in order for this to actually be of any practical value for the future, it is necessary to actually know how to access resources and opportunities to demonstrate your strengths and improve any weaknesses.
Personally, this can still feel somewhat daunting if not presented concisely, as seen below:
- Utilise LinkedIn to both make connections and see what routes other people with your degree have chosen
- Use your newfound strengths as a marketing point to distinguish yourself from others
- Don’t be afraid to speak to others, they want to help!
Overall, I find that I no longer approach the topic of careers and confidence with dread, but rather as an opportunity gradually develop the best version of myself to achieve my goals.