Milena's Reflection of University
As I write this blog, I have mixed emotions. I am so proud to be at a point of time, where I have finished all my assessments of my final year and am excited for the future. Meanwhile, I also have feelings on how much I know I am going to miss University (and probably wish I could stay another year).
The last three years have been the best years of my life. Before starting University, family members and family friends would say ‘Milena, enjoy University. It will be the best experience of your life’. I used to brush it off, but my goodness was that true.
Prior to joining, I was pretty shy. I was quite reserved, lacked confidence and kept myself to myself. Coventry University, through the opportunities they have given me, have really shaped the graduate I am now going to be. I wanted to share some of highlights and things I have learnt over the last three years that has truly made this the best possible experience for me.
Take Every Opportunity
Like I said above, before joining University, I was pretty shy. I knew before joining University that I wanted to try and take every opportunity and get involved in things that I became interested in.
On Fresher's Week, back in September 2018, I signed up out of interest to a few societies and also the Reps Stall, after a very persuasive rep encouraged me to sign up. Since then, I have never looked back. I absolutely loved being a course rep so much, that I went on to become an Elected School Rep twice. I wasn’t initially considering running in the elections for this role. I used to think ‘me? running in the elections?’. When you’re a little shy, the thought of having to promote myself to students as to why to vote for me, potentially standing up in lecture halls that are filled with students, made me feel butterflies in my tummy just at that thought. It terrified me!
I had a realisation one day and just went for it. I knew I had nothing to lose.
Being a School Rep has really brought me out of my shell. I have been exposed to many experiences, which has not only helped me learn so much about working with others, it has also helped me to gain an array of confidence whilst also enabling me to network with some fantastic staff in my faculty. I just seemed to find my own feet and felt so happy.
Through the Rep system I have had several opportunities given to me such as delivering presentations, welcome talks, being an online ambassador for CUSU and made some amazing friends! These are all things I have spoken about in job interviews.
The biggest thing I have learnt is to just say YES! Saying yes to different opportunities at University. If it wasn’t for that stall on Fresher’s Week, I wouldn’t have had the experience as being a School Rep.
I have also said yes to other opportunities including a last minute yes to go on a Field Trip to Malaysia back in my first year and volunteering at CUSU. More recently, I applied to become a Reslife Assistant and got the job. Through these experiences, I have met some incredible people, learnt new things I love, developed new skills but most of all had fun! I don’t think my University experience would have been anywhere near as good as it has been without saying doing these things.
Saying yes also applies to your social life. University is all about a balance between your study life and social life. Say yes to that birthday party, spoons trip or night out if you want to go. You’ll see the pictures on socials the next day and only regret not going. Everybody deserves a break and to have some fun! If you manage your time well, you can afford to do nice things
Ask for help when you need it
It is so easy for people to say that you can go to them if you have a question or are struggling. If you lack confidence, you usually don’t want to do that.
This is something that changed for me at University. For me, it took just once to ask for help. The first time is the hardest time, but oh my, is it one of the biggest reliefs. I can remember being in the first semester of first year, really unsure of how to approach an essay and reference. Once I went to my tutor, it felt as though a weight was lifted off my shoulders. It no longer felt impossible, but doable and a lot clearer than originally. I ended up getting a pretty good grade too.
If you ever feel confused in a seminar or are confused over an essay or revision for an exam, don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are so many people willing to help. You could even get a progress coach, somebody who doesn’t teach you and talk to them if you need help. After you do it once, you realise it isn’t so hard to do and in the long term will only benefit you.
Be prepared for challenges along the way
I think something I really wasn’t expecting that much during my University experience was the challenges. I thought these would only hit in final year, but you do come across some along the way.
Something that you have to bear in mind with studying at University is that, yes, you’re here to learn a subject you have an interest in, a passion, or gaining a qualification you know you need in order to get the future job you want. But University, also gives you a lot of life lessons.
Just think. You will be most likely living alone, learning how to clean, wash clothes, cook food etc. (no Jamie Oliver but hey ho). These are all things that have taken time to learn and carry out, taking time away from your studying.
I have definitely (and I am sure most do) have had some difficult weeks at University. You may be revising for an exam as you go along the semester, whilst also writing two essays, attending classes and lectures, reading, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, socialising and maybe even a part time job too! It can be tough. It can be challenge and a juggling act at times.
For me, something that helped me was reminding myself of the purpose. Reminding myself of what I was doing and why I was doing it really helped to keep my motivation up and focus on the end goal of me graduating.
Overall, my University experience has been incredible! I have studied something that I have loved, made some lifelong friends, had some amazing opportunities but most of all, I am leaving University feeling happy and ready to conquer life!
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