Class of 2021, we made it! The past four years have definitely been a roller coaster ride, full of ups, downs and even global pandemics. During my four years at the University of Stirling, I grew from an 18-year-old girl into 22-year-old women, and have experienced so much, from being a student ambassador to living in Orlando.
One reason why I picked Stirling was because it allowed me to take optional modules, which really worked in my favour. I changed my degree in the first semester of my first year from Film and Media to Criminology and Politics – I know a pretty drastic change! However, the optional modules the University of Stirling offered allowed me to figure out the best degree for me. One piece of advice I would give to my first-year self is to speak to your lecturers and take advantage of office hours. I don’t know why I used to feel shy asking for help; your lecturers are there to help you and you usually end up walking away with more advice than you originally asked for.
Getting involved with the University outside of classes has been one of the most rewarding experiences. I worked as a Student Ambassador, which meant I was able to work at different events such as open days, and help new students. I also explored the local community by joining a local kickboxing club (the Scottish Martial Arts Centre). I had so much fun, it kept me fit and I met some great friends.
My favourite experience during my time at the university was spending one of my summers living in Orlando, working at the Universal Studios Resort through a student programme. I loved being able to wake up to sunshine everyday (which is rare in Scotland) and spending my days off work at Disneyland. The University of Stirling shares so many summer opportunities like this, as well as study abroad, and I recommend any student to look into these!
During lockdown in Stirling, I loved exploring the local area through walks and hikes. My favourite being Dumyat, a hill right by the university which gives you the most rewarding views of Stirling when you reach the top. At Stirling we are lucky to have such a beautiful campus and surrounding areas, which have been a great escape from studying, especially online learning. Studying during the covid-19 pandemic through online learning was difficult to adapt to, and it often felt like I was stuck between the same four walls. However, the amazing staff and students at the University worked together to ensure we all felt supported throughout this uncertain time.
Getting my dissertation results has to be the highlight of my degree. Writing a dissertation is a huge challenge for every student, so having the added pressure of writing mine during unprecedented times was an uphill battle. However, with the support of my friends, family, my dissertation advisor and a lot of cups of coffee (especially from the Burgh on Kings Street), I got my target grade, and I could not have been prouder! I definitely had to show it off with the obligatory loch photo.
These crazy four years have flown by and I have made the best friends and memories. Now I am starting a new chapter of my life, working my first graduate job in an independent school, with the hopes of returning to university to gain my PGDE in secondary teaching. I am so excited to see what the future has in store for me, and I will always cherish my time at Stirling as it has shaped me into the confident and adventurous individual that I am.