My personal university journey actually started at a completely different university studying business, which I also studied at college.
I left college without a clue of what kind of job I wanted and I was scared of not going to university as it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get a decent job without a degree. Panic hit me and I decided to take business studies at university as I thought it was quite an open degree which would lead to a plethora of different job options.
First year was great, I settled in well to the fast life of a student and made loads of friends, but I didn’t feel fantastic about the course that I had chosen. I shrugged it off and thought “It’s all new to me and I need to at least give it a chance” and that’s exactly what I did.
I dragged myself though second year and became increasingly unhappy. I started to realise that business studies wasn’t for me, but there was one aspect of the course that I had fallen in love with and that was marketing.
The placement year
Fast forward to the end of my second year and I was looking for a suitable placement to enhance my education. I knew I wanted to do something in marketing and that’s when I found a job for a Marketing and Communications assistant at a higher education purchasing consortium. It seemed perfect, so I applied and did great in the interview. A few weeks later they offered me the job!
I was absolutely over the moon and so happy to finally get my foot in the door in Marketing, but then I had some terrible news. Unfortunately, I failed a resit exam and as a result was not able to take an accredited placement year. I was devastated. I had been so excited about the placement and being able to work in the real world of marketing that I was just so lost as to what I wanted to do. It really made me re-think everything.
Finally, I came to the decision that even though it wouldn’t be accredited, I felt that the experience I would gain in a placement year would be far more valuable to me than re-taking a year of a course that made me so unhappy.
So, I took the plunge and suspended my studies for a year whilst I became NEUPC’s new Marketing and Communications assistant and it was amazing. It was my first proper job in an office and I was learning so much.
The year-long placement allowed me to really explore my love for marketing and gain invaluable knowledge of working in the industry. It helped me set my career path in stone and I finally knew what I wanted to do and it felt like a great fit.
The big decision
Almost a year later, my placement was nearly up and this was it. I had to make a decision… do I go back to university or not?
I started getting the fear of having to go back to university and to business studies. Not only was it hard because I lived 60 miles away but whilst at working I had fallen in love with social media marketing. I did not want to have to go back to studying corporate finance and law.
I started looking at other possibilities, because going back to my original university wasn’t an option for me. I was looking at different courses at a university that was a little bit closer to home, as I’d just bought a house with my partner. I didn’t want to carry on with the time-consuming commute I was making at the time.
I came across the Digital Marketing course at the University of Derby. It was one of my choices when I applied the first time around and I thought I’d have another look at what they had to offer. The course sounded absolutely perfect, I was excited just reading about it!
I applied and was so happy that some of the modules I did at my previous university allowed me to transfer straight on to the second year. I was so glad that my time at studying business didn’t feel wasted and some good was able to come out of it.
Although I was ecstatic about going into second year straight away, it was extremely daunting. I hadn’t been in education for a while and I’d gotten used to being in an office environment, so going back into the classroom was very nerve wracking. One of my biggest worries was that I wouldn’t know any other students. For me to be the ‘new kid’ was a little scary.
The first couple of weeks were quite difficult, not knowing where everything was, having the wrong timetable, and eating lunch by myself, just the usual first week nightmares, but the staff and students were always so willing to help out with directions if they saw me looking a little lost. After I started getting the hang of being a student again, I was able to really come out of my shell. I made friends with lovely, like-minded people on my course, which has made my university experience so much more enjoyable.
What I’ve learned
I’m very happy to finally feel settled in a university and course. I look forward to what the next year of studies has in store for me. I think if there has been anything that I’ve learned from my university journey it would be to not give up. It sounds cliché but believe me, there were times that I wanted to just throw in the towel and go into full time work because I really thought university wasn’t for me, but I had worked so hard and wasn’t prepared to just throw that all away. I persevered, took some time out to think about my future and re-applied for university; it has been the best decision of my life. Now, I’m excited for what the future holds and the exciting opportunities I will have with a degree from the University of Derby.