Ever wonder what someone else was thinking? We’re giving you the chance to have an insight into the weird and wonderful minds on campus. This month, a student in their final year looks back over their time at Swansea.
As a final year student, my approaching graduation is terrifying. Freshers seems a whole life time ago – when assignments weren’t started until a week before the deadline and going to Oceana the night before an exam was obligatory. My attitude towards my degree has certainly changed since then.
I originally saw my degree as a gateway to something else. I wasn’t really sure what, but I hoped it would give me some options for when I stepped out into the big bad world. I focused entirely on my course, attending all lectures come rain or shine, spent weekends pouring over extra reading material in the library, and actually typed up my lecture notes. My flatmates, and arguably most of the student population, took a much more relaxed approach, easing into the assignments if they felt like it and cramming at the end of the year.
The social side of the first year at university is one of the most extraordinary things about life as a student. You learn that it’s almost expected to attend lectures hungover; it’s okay to accept drinks from watered-down student bars; and it is compulsory add anyone you meet on Facebook by the next morning.
Second year did wonders for me. Living off-campus introduced a whole new ball game of how to spend my beloved student loan with hyperactive boilers, dodgy housemates, and burst water pipes. Despite the many accommodation issues, it was really nice to pay rent and bills. It tricks you into believing you are a real “grown up”, subsidised by student loans and various bursaries of course. Second year scared me as I realised that it would all have to end at some point. This realisation simply lead to me wanting to make the most of it, not just in terms of academic success, but of social experiences, career credentials, and skills I may not get to harness anywhere else.
So in third year I wholeheartedly threw myself into everything, hoping I would become the outstanding citizen that university seemed to promise to create. I joined societies and made sure that I attended more than just the first few socials. I joined the ambassador program: helping out at the open days and speaking to prospective students and their parents. Being an ambassador was one of the best things I have taken part in during my time at Swansea. Final year assignments and deadlines obviously took a hit to the social life but I kept it pretty balanced, because as much as I’ve been trying to overcome that 2:1/1st barrier all year, it was important to get more out of my degree than just what my lecturers have taught me.
A degree isn’t about just passing exams and learning how to reference. It’s about life education. An education about who you are, and what kind of place you make for yourself in a new setting with so many opportunities. In reflection, I feel I have made something of myself. I’ve grown up and I know what I’m good at and where I need improvement. I know where I’m headed in the job market and how I’m going to get there. I also know I’m capable. But these are things a lecture cannot teach you. You have to take advantage of what’s right in front of you, otherwise you will simply fall short of your own potential.
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