Is University a chance to work hard or play hard?


Picture by Chiara Pinna (Via Unsplash)

As we move closer to the start of the academic year I bet there are a small handful of you who are about to be starting your first year as an Events Management University Student.

To you I say GOOD LUCK & why yes, this blog does cover a ton of topics that will help you navigate the next four years! In fact I’ve gone as far as to create a simple navigation system at the top which splits all the hundred and hundreds of blog posts into simple areas. For example as a first year student all you need to do it click the University header, and head down to Freshers & there you will find all the posts written specifically for you – such as today’s topic! It’s because I’m considerate like that (plus I’ve been in the same position as you – be it a few years ago now)

I’m looking to help answer a question that gets a fair amount of attention. It was a question that I remember asking when I started way back in 2010, and one I continue get asked for students year after year.

How much focus you should have on the academic side of your degree in first year?

Let’s clear up a very important point first – whilst first years doesn’t SPECIFICALLY count towards your overall degree classification it is a vital aspect of your degree. Hence why you are required to spend 3 years studying at Uni instead of just 2.

It is a building block opportunity. A time where you are able to experiment, learn and develop the skills needed to write the academic essays, understand the industry & explore your options!

The simple answer is that YES you should work hard in this first stage, but in saying that it also depends on what is important to you.

If you’re heading to university because you’re wanting to gain a high degree classification, go on to land your dream job & subsequently dominate the industry once you graduate – then you’re automatically going to be more work focused.

Alternatively if the social side of establishing friendships, adapting to living away from home and getting to experience the other perks of Uni is of high importance – then that’s where your focus is going to be.

However there might be a fair few of you who are a split of the two. Wanting to get a good grade but also enjoy the social side. If that’s you then we’ve got a tricky balancing act on our hands. Because the real question is can you really work and play hard? Or is one always going to have to take priority?

I have the great benefit of being able to look at this scenario knowing what I know now. Which is the experience of studying Events Management for four years, working in the Events Industry for the last 14 months & being slightly self-indulgent in thinking this makes me an semi-expert.

Yes you can definitely do both & I think it is important to value both sides of what university can offer in your first year. When we talk about ‘working’ hard at uni it doesn’t just mean focusing on the essays and academic side, but rather it encompasses the focus on gaining invaluable experience. Because the thing is – and this news shouldn’t really surprise is you’ve looked in to or spoken to anyone in the events industry – that experience is of equal importance to your academic development.

Whilst a lot of people might preach that the academic side holds the most value & concentrating on your studies should be your number 1 priority, my view-point is a tiny bit different.

While you are spending a tiny fortune on this part of your life, you need to understand and learn about what is important to you. You don’t just go to university to gain a degree, you also go there to grow and develop as a person. The skills you will learn are going to cover many different areas from research, time management through to taking criticism and working within teams. And that doesn’t just come from concentrating on what your lecturers give you, but also from everything your campus and uni has to offer. Becoming a member of a society or sports team, working at the student bar, meeting people with like-minded interests and experiencing the whole package of what University offers is going to teach you as much as the academic side!

So in answer to the question Is University a chance to Work hard or Play hard? it is a chance for BOTH.

Of course if you wanted me to recommend ONE THING that you should concentrate more on in first year, it would be – build you connections and experience through volunteering, internships and networking. Doesn’t matter how small; from stewarding at a festival right through to office administration for an events company. Each thing you do will help build you own confidence, understanding and development within this exciting and vast industry!



@imdamnstudent@blogbykobrakFacebook & Instagram

This post is part of the Bullish Blog Network 


Let me explain…


Photograph by Garrett Carroll (via Unsplash)

You might remember a few months ago I wrote this post on why I take breaks from the blog, and the reasons as to why I have become disengaged with elements of blogging.

It has been over two months since that entry & it might be apparent from the lack of posts that my feeling on this topic are much the same. I know there are many people within the confines of the blogging/vlogging community – regardless of the subject of content they produce – who have very similar feelings to me.

Personally as a reader of many blogs, I’ve found myself consolidating what I read and spending more time going back to blogs where the content is really strong. I don’t have the patience to read posts that hold no originality or aren’t telling me something new.

Because I’ve been writing this blog for over 4 years, I feel a sense on obligation to explain where my feelings on blogging are right now & how that’s been effecting this blog.

I left University over a year ago, and I’ve been working at GPJ for just over 10 months. I’m not in the same environment as when I started this blog, and alongside the continuous learning, my priorities have changed.

The piece of information/knowledge below is the main reason I’ve made the decision to take a drastic look at this blog and my place within this area.

Content shouldn’t be produced for the sake of having content.

I believe that the value of content comes from saying something that needs to be said.

Creating content that will lead somewhere.

Content that is different, innovative and is not just repeating information others have said before.

Sure, I’ve been guilty of writing posts that are just duplicates of pieces I had written in the past. Posts that hold no value, all because I have been focused on putting up regular content at least once a week. However this becomes tiring, unfulfilling and quickly begins to feel like a chore.

That mentality means what is being produced doesn’t reflect what could be written.

I feel like the worst thing I could do is try to force ideas and posts. And I don’t want to write inadequate content, or worse make you read pointless posts.

Maybe now is the point to state quite boldly that I WILL CONTINUE TO WRITE THIS BLOG.

However I won’t be:

Writing on any set days

Posting weekly (or making any promises about when things might appear)

Apologising if there are long periods of time where nothing is uploaded

I want to be excited about sharing a piece of content. I also want the posts to add value. To be writing about topics that are interesting, that spark conversation and create a discussion.

But more than anything I want it to help students.

The other reason I’ve pushed blogging to the back seat, is because I’ve taken on some other responsibilities. I am a member of ISES UK, the International Special Events Society, and am sitting on the Education Committee. Which means I am still continuing to work with students but am getting to work with fantastic event professionals who have greater contacts, experience & understanding of how to help bridge the gap between what students get taught & what the industry is looking for!

I love writing this blog, it’s led me to some great places and giving me a platform I never thought I would have. But I don’t want to feel pressurised or overwhelmed about having to keep it updated.

Writing this blog is a hobby, separate from work, but something I do because more than anything I want to help make sure we continue to develop and enhance this industry.

And like a lot of things that starts with education!

So in summary:

I am still here, just won’t be pretending to stick to a schedule. Instead posts will appear sporadically when something interesting needs to be shared.

The content is going to be more focused, and more detailed. I want to start conversations (or at least make you think!)

But in true I’m a Damn Student style everything is still going to continue to focus on you guys, Event Management Students!


As always you can find me personally on Twitter @blogbykobrak & Instagram blogbykobrak – both of which are places I spend too much time!!

You can keep updated with the blog on both Twitter  @imdamnstudent & Facebook!

And if you are an Events Student – either about to start, currently at Uni, or just Graduated (Congratulations!) – I highly recommend joining #EventStudents Facebook Page & following @EventStudents1 (and the hashtag #EventStudents) on Twitter!


Event 360 Insight


Picture taken by ME (Caitlin Kobrak)

It’s been a 2 week window of inactivity on this blog, if you follow me on twitter (@blogbykobrak) you might have seen that I was away exploring the city of Rome for a few days. Unfortunately this is not a post with pretty pictures of amazing Italian food :( I don’t think that would be fair, and I was too busy stuffing my face with ALL the pizza/pasta to have time to snap an Instagram worthy picture.

Instead today I was to share a piece of insight I learnt at Tuesday’s Event Magazine and C&IT‘s Event360 at the Roundhouse.

Tim Dingle taught us a few simple rules of ‘How to be Amazing‘ – not something you would think could be explained in 10 minutes. Fundamentally it all comes down to breathing correctly, there is a whole science behind this concept that links into meditation, but apparently the one thing we should NOT be doing it taking deep breaths. Instead breathing slow, even and rhythmic is the correct way, it will release a certain chemical (the actual name escapes me) which allows you to get rid of any stresses and instead see clearly! There is a whole list of rules that Tim spoke about, which can be seen in the picture below!


Tim also said a great point that I think resonates with Event Students – ASK BETTER QUESTIONS. The thing I’ve learnt since Graduating last year is that no matter your job position you are continuously learning. We can all ask ‘does social media enhance the event experience’ but surely we are all clued in enough to know the answer is yes!? It links back to that overly shared, but very important, piece of advice to always be curious and willing to listen!

As a new event professional, & someone who has only been working in the industry for less than a year, I personally love attending these type of  events. Sometimes the content and discussions are on, or around, topics that you already know a lot about BUT you will always walk away having discovered something – even if it is knowing other people have the same viewpoints! In a way it fills the gap which was created once I finished University, I don’t think I appreciated or understood just how curious I am as a person!!

So in summary you can make yourself amazing & become the best person by taking 3 minutes out of your day, closing your eyes and breathing! Maybe it will help you through all your assignments next year , or if you’ve just finished your uni course, it might be a big help for when you start you graduate job!

You can follow Tim on twitter or check out his website, plus Event Magazine have you covered on all that was discussed at Event 360!


@imdamnstudent@blogbykobrakFacebook & Instagram