26/01/2012 05:15 GMT | Updated 25/03/2012 06:12 BST

University: All About the Grades?

As you can probably tell from the bio underneath my name at the top of this post, I am currently in my final year of studying Business Studies at De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester. So, considering the fact that my time at DMU is drawing to an end, I thought I would write a post about what I think university is all about.

No, this post is not about alcohol and sexual exploration!

I am not quite sure where to begin with my ramblings, so I think I shall just start from the beginning. Before I become a fully-fledged Business Student at DMU I thought that university was all about working hard, staying motivated and getting the best grades you possibly can. So, that's exactly what I did. Seriously, I was that student who was all about her work and all I did throughout the academic year was work, work and work. However, when I finished my first year and got the grades that I was aiming for, I began to think that maybe there was more to the student experience than just academia.

So, before I started my second year at DMU, I decided that I would get involved in a number of extra-curricular activities and that's how I eventually became a member of DMU's Volunteering Committee. My position was the 'Student-Led Projects Officer' and it allowed me to help students organise their own events, so I was kind of like a mentor. Sort of! In addition to this, I was also instrumental in the organising, planning and marketing of the events that we hosted as a committee - the 'Pizza and Pint Night' springs to mind for some reason.

Apart from my work with the committee, I was also a mentor for teenagers in care. This was an initiative run by DMU in conjunction with Leicester City Council. I really enjoyed this because I had a really good relationship with the girl that I was mentoring and I really felt like I was making a difference.

Finally, on top of all of this I was also working 22+ hours at my job as a Manager. So, as you can imagine, I was super busy!

I know what you're thinking; did my grades suffer? Well, if you compare my first and second year results, they average out as pretty much the same. However, if you think about the long-term benefits of what my pursuit of extra-curricular activities, it's helped me so much. For example, when I got to interviews I have so much voluntary work to talk about. Plus, I have examples of when I was involved in organising an event, when I worked as part of a diverse team and how I organised the marketing for an event (obviously, I learnt loads more but I don't think you want a long and boring list!).

Personally, I think I did a lot more for my career during my second year than I did in my first year, when I was solely focused on getting the best grades I was capable of. However, the hard work didn't end there. I have continued to work hard at DMU and I am still involved in a number of extra-curricular activities, although I have been more selective about what activities I have committed myself to this year. Although, in final year I think you have to be selective of what you choose to do because, and I am sure my fellow students would agree, time is of the essence!

Finally, I just want to say that university is not just about the grades you achieve. No, university is about taking advantage of all the opportunities that are available to you as a student. I am in no way saying that achieving the best grades you can is not important, because it is. All I am saying is that it isn't the be-all and end-all of university life. Of course, I can only refer to the opportunities that DMU offers because it's my university, but I am sure that other universities have their own initiatives to get students involved and to increase their levels of employability. They'd be silly not to!

Trust me when I say that university is the time to try everything and anything (within reason!). Take advantage of the opportunities, gain as many transferable skills as you can and build that CV so you stand out from the millions of others in the jobs market. It will benefit you more in the future than just good grades alone.