4 hidden ways the PLUS Award benefits you! – untold secrets of a PLUS Award achiever

Hello prospective PLUS Award achievers! I’m Avellina, a final year Biology student and 2021/22 PLUS Award achiever. 

Avellina smiling.

Many students understand that the Bristol PLUS Award is an employability award that rewards you for going above and beyond your degree. We know that it boosts our CV and makes us stand out to future employers… but there are also secret, unknown benefits that you’ll only uncover upon starting the Award process! 

From a PLUS Award achiever, here are the top 4 ways the PLUS Award has benefited me in ways I didn’t expect.

1. From one opportunity to another – PLUS helped me network

The Award has opened doors that have helped me gain considerable work experience throughout my undergraduate degree. 

Avellina standing with four colleagues from the Conservation Forensics lab in Hong Kong University

In pursuit of the 70 hours of work experience, I interned in a Conservation Forensics lab in Hong Kong University. Upon getting to know the principal investigator in the lab, I realised she was friends with several professors and lecturers who taught me!

This led to a snowball effect where I gained new internships from connections, which has boosted my CV and helped me to gain even more opportunities.

2. It led to a job opportunity 

While searching for part-time jobs on mycareer, I came across the Bristol PLUS Award Ambassador role. I decided to apply and am now happily part of the loveliest team. Being able to earn while studying is a big benefit! 

3. It improved my grades (by giving myself space to relax) 

I was incredibly stressed while studying in my first year. Not only was there a massive amount of work that I wasn’t used to absorbing, but I was in a whole new country and was struggling with culture shock.

Volunteering at a cat shelter for my 70 hours’ experience helped me relax and forget about my worries. I didn’t realise how important a break was until then!  

Avellina striking a pose next to a cat.

For you, this space to relax might involve being part of a society, volunteering at a local charity or creatively contributing to a journal or blog. Why not get your “downtime” recognised through PLUS? 

4. It improved my social skills  

I am naturally a shy person but pursuing the PLUS Award has helped me come out of my shell.

Working as a waitress meant I was constantly talking to people and solving issues; being part of a lab meant communication was key; volunteering at a cat shelter meant I was constantly liaising with my team and prospective cat owners. I became used to new and uncomfortable situations and learnt to conduct myself professionally.  

My final thoughts  

Avellina in a lab coat, processing lab samples.

Overall, the PLUS Award can propel your career and self confidence in ways you wouldn’t expect! I encourage all students to achieve this Award. It has not only opened up a plethora of opportunities for me, but has also encouraged self-reflection and skill development, which is essential for my future career. 

Are you up for the challenge?