What’s your plan for 2021? Will you dedicate more time to your studies, or are you hoping to meet more people in your city? Here we have compiled a few ideas for ways in which you can bolster your academic credentials, connect with peers and industry experts. Let’s make 2021 the year to get inspired, innovative and enterprising.

Join a network 

Surrounding yourself with people who inspire you is halfway on the road to success. When you join a network, you meet individuals with similar goals and aspirations, as well as the expertise to enrich you professionally.

Most networks will offer regular events, many of which are now online, giving the opportunity to engage directly with other members and experts in any given field. The Entrepreneurs Network is a thriving group of some of Britain’s most ambitious entrepreneurs, specialising in policy research and support for business. They also host forums on Female Founders, Immigrant Founders and Green Entrepreneurship. Membership is free, giving access to a whole host of events and industry insights.

The range of networks to choose from is huge, with groups dedicated to supporting women in businessside hustlers and BAME professionals, amongst others.

Start an online course

Enrolling in an online course has benefits far beyond boosting your CV. These courses can add another dimension to your learning, giving valuable context to your studies or career.

Platforms such as Codecademy and FutureLearn offer an extensive selection of great courses for free. Depending on what you choose, you might come away with new skills, new ideas, a professional portfolio and even a certificate.

FutureLearn boasts everything from business and management modules, to politics, languages and computer science. On the other hand, Codecademy offers in-depth programming training, as well as cheat sheets, articles, advice and forums.

Choosing the right course is the first challenge. Take time to read through your CV, asking yourself which course might align with your previous experience and future aspirations. Asking friends, lecturers and course mates for their recommendations is also a great place to start.

Try meditation

“Meditation has a branding problem,” says entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss. Too often we picture yoga mats, dream catchers and singing bowls, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Ferriss’ podcast features interviews with some of the most successful people on earth, from LeBron James, to Daniel Ek and Yuval Noah Hurari. Despite having vastly different careers, passions and backstories, Ferriss finds that 90% of his interviewees have something in common – they all practice some kind of morning mediation or mindfulness.

He recommends starting with Headspace, a meditation app that offers a range of free modules to suit all time restraints, moods and intentions. One course helps participants to achieve better sleep, whilst another targets stress relief. This gives real-life, practical applications to something which is often considered purely spiritual.

The knock-on benefits are countless. Recognising how meditation can improve employee welfare, productivity and creativity, many employers now offer their teams free access to the Headspace app.

Plan a side hustle

According to a report from Henley Business School, side hustlers generate around £72 billion a year for the UK economy. 25% of UK adults are now considered side hustlers. Professor Bernd Vogel states in the paper, “we can expect growth in side-hustling, possibly even doubling, in the next ten years.”

Starting a side hustle is an exercise in innovation, time management and resourcing. However, half of the learning is in the planning. If you find yourself time-poor and without the resources to launch a side hustle right away, simply planning one can be very rewarding. Consider drawing up a comprehensive business plan, including a five-year blueprint, elevator pitch and a list of the resources you will need.

When you choose to pursue a postgraduate programme with Northumbria University London Campus, you’ll find opportunities to bolster your skills far beyond the curriculum, whilst connecting with industry experts and world-class educators. With more than 210,000 Northumbria alumni around the world, you’ll find yourself part of a thriving global network of ambitious individuals and innovators.

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