Debate: Careers events are a waste of precious time

Stevie Hertz 23 November 2016

Speak to any Cambridge student, and the chances are they will be in a hurry or stressed about something or other. Time is so precious here in Cambridge that for so many people, careers events are merely pushed to one side in light of the weekly essay crisis. 

Arguably this is not ideal, however, as an undergraduate at this competitive university which pushes students to their limits, careers events should not be a source of stress for the students only just keeping up with their horrific workload.
Moreover, a careers event is very rarely what you want it to be. Often you may spend the entire hour or two desperately bored and becoming increasingly stressed about the pile of books waiting for you on your desk at home. We are, of course, very lucky to have so many diverse opportunities in Cambridge with regards to careers events, nevertheless, for many students who have no clue what they want to do, knowing what to attend, and what might actually be relevant and useful to them is very difficult to ascertain, especially in the context of an overdue piece of work nagging to be completed. When it comes down to it, there is almost always something more pressing in the present momentthat makes the future seem less of a priority, leading to students to skip these events even when they had previously intended to attend.

With regards to the careers concerned being very competitive, this cannot be denied. Yet having a good degree from a good university is going to get you a lot further than simply attending a few events.

Consequently, one could argue that students should, in fact, prioritise their degrees and studies when possible, since getting a good final grade will stand them in good stead when searching for a job.

Perhaps one would be best off getting both a good degree and attending these career events, but this is rarely managable for many Cambridge students, except the most overacheiving and efficient. But for your average student, acedemic work and general life dominates their everyday routine to such an extent that these extra commitments with rarely much promise of reward are just not seen as crucial enough to warrant abandoning that problem sheet for the terrifying supervisor nor putting off laundry for yet abother week.

Time flies, it is true, but networking events are not going to mean you are set for the future upon graduating. No. Your degree is going to be the deciding factor in obtaining a job offer within a competitive field. Furthermore, being a well-rounded individual with relevant transferrable skills is not something to be neglected. So, whilst at university, students should be encouraged to make the most of the opportunities for roles of responsibilty such as president of a society or captain of a sports team. This too is pro-active behaviour concerning one’s career prospects. Anyone can parrot a career advisor, it is important to gain real life experience in leadership roles. Overall very few careers events are worth the time.