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Reflection on my time as a Northumbria student

Imogen Smith-Evans Student Life

As I begin my final semester at Northumbria, the reality starts to set in that my time here as a student is quickly coming to an end.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on my time here as a student, thinking about what best advice I can offer to those of you who are about to embark on the best journey of your lives and what the next chapter is for me, after I wave a tearful goodbye to the place I’ve called home for the past four years.


What are my main worries and dreams about the future?

My biggest fear about leaving University is what position I will be in at this exact moment, in a years time – Will I be in a job I enjoy that pushes me to achieve, will I be stuck, drowning in the 9-5 grind of corporate life or am I going to be that person with a first class honors degree who’s working the drive through at McDonalds? Will I be back home, living with my parents, in Newcastle or a completely new city? Will I end up somewhere where I can easily make new friends or will I be sat watching X-Factor with my dog as companionship at weekends? And then there’s the big one… CAN I SURVIVE WITHOUT A STUDENT LOAN ??!!

These are all questions that are constantly circling my mind and filling me with complete panic as the weeks drastically slip away and my July 7th graduation date appears closer on the horizon.  

My big dream is to ultimately own my own company, but first my aspiration is to spend a few years building skills through a corporate role in marketing.  After spending the past year abroad and experiencing a taste of life on the other side, I am currently facing the big dilemma about whether to stay in England or move abroad.  After seeking advice from Northumbria’s careers advice team and friends who also have no idea on what the future holds, I am beginning to realise that it’s ok to not have it all figured out yet. Yes, ok, there might be a few people who have bagged themselves a place on a big fancy graduate scheme at Aldi or Lidl on a £42K starting salary, but the majority of final year students are facing the same torturing questions about what lies next after Uni – so if you’re feeling the same way as me, quit having those sleepless nights as we are all in the same boat and we will figure it out eventually. All I can say is we are young. We will be spending the next 50 years of our lives in work, so don’t worry about not falling into your dream job straight away.


What has my time at University taught me?

University has taught me many valuable life lessons. From the basic ‘housewife’ training such as cooking and cleaning, to the other more critical skills such as time management – a skill that I can safely say has been refined over the years through learning the hard way the importance of meeting assignment deadlines.

The most important thing I would say I have gained from University however, is developing the ‘Just do it’ attitude. This is the attitude to not hold back from opportunities such as studying abroad because the thought of leaving home scares you a little, or just simply stopping yourself from doing something that takes your interest because you fear failure.

My best piece of advice to you is to stop thinking about it and JUST DO IT, as time has taught me 'the only things we regret, are the things we didn't do'.


What do I wish I had known back when I was starting as a new student?

I know I am going to sound like your nagging mum here, but honestly, do not underestimate the importance of a good solid internship.

In today’s competitive job environment it is essential to be able to demonstrate your practical ability and I had never really thought too much about this when I first started Uni –  in my younger eyes I was at Northumbria to have fun, I had done a few weeks here and there at places over the summer which I could add to my CV, so I didn’t really care as I had ticked the whole ‘work experience’ box.

Like me you will find when you come to your final year or even applying for placements after your second year, you need something solid to talk about at interview and to demonstrate you’re the right women or man for the job.

I wish I had had this drummed into me sooner, as although I had done a few things here and there, I really struggled to find a work placement for my third year due to lack of experience and instead gave up after many failed attempts.

Back in the day when I first started at Northumbria, ‘The Hub’ was just a piece of genius that hadn’t yet been discovered. I wish I had had a platform to access endless wisdom and knowledge from students who had ‘been there’ and ‘done that’ when I was first starting out. I had no idea on how to budget my loan, where to go around campus, what to do in Newcastle on weekends and to my frustration I always seemed to find out about amazing opportunities through word of mouth right after they had happened. The Hub provides you with all this information and much more and I feel this would have proved really useful for me back in my early student days.


My top tips:

I have put together a little video sharing my top four best pieces of advice to help you make the most out of your time at Northumbria.

So go on, give it a watch.

I hope you find the content inspiring and have as many great adventures as I have had at Northumbria.


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