A look back on my time at Stirling – Sarah Mayes

I always thought of myself as a home bird; I didn’t really have the desire to move away for university until I came to visit Stirling. Honestly, I fell in love with the campus. It sounds cliché, but I felt so at home walking around, even for the first time. I love that it has such a community feel. I also met a Psychology lecturer who was so kind and answered all my many questions. I hadn’t studied Psychology before, so I was excited and nervous to start something very new.  

My course has really opened my eyes to how many different areas there are within Psychology, that relate to so many things. During my fourth year I had the opportunity to do a placement with the Makaton Charity, where I was able to create a resource with them and interview people to evaluate it. Seeing how the research skills that I have learnt throughout my degree being applied to something I am so passionate about, makes me so excited! 

My experience of university accommodation was really positive. I made some really good friends in first year and we spent every night together in one of our kitchens. I loved that everything on campus was so close. I got involved with the Christian Union and very quickly met some amazing friends, and I loved getting to know people in other year groups too! For me, it was the people who I met who made Stirling feel like home. 

The past year has definitely been the most challenging, but also rewarding year. For me, fourth year was a lot of time in my room on my laptop, but I had an amazing support network who kept me going. Being in final year with all the uncertainties and everything being online was hard, however it taught me how to manage my time and to not be afraid to ask for help.  

A large part of my university experience has been working for PLUS Forth Valley, a charity that supports children and young people with disabilities. The lecturer I met when I came to visit Stirling was the person who told me about it, and I’ve now been working there for three and a half years. I have just started a full time position at PLUS as one of their Project Coordinators, and I am so excited about this opportunity. Working there for the past few years has been such a valuable experience and I am so glad that I am still working with them!  

It’s really difficult to try to think of just one favourite memories from my time at university, everything from road trips to having friends coming to stay. But one that really stands out was back in July my flatmate came home from work in the evening and suggested that we climb Ben Lomond for sunrise the next day. If I’m honest, I didn’t really know what I was agreeing too, but we ended up leaving Stirling at 1am to drive there and make it up for the sunrise. It was so difficult climbing up in the dark, it took a lot of encouragement from my flatmate, but we did make it to the top and it was breath taking. It was something that was out of my comfort zone, but a really incredible experience to eat your breakfast at the top of Ben Lomond as we watched the sunrise.  

The past four years haven’t been what I expected, but they have amazing. I am so grateful for the friends I’ve made and the opportunities I have had, and I’m very glad that I am staying for a wee while longer! 

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