The Student Journey is what you make it…
My name’s Chelsea and I’m a full-time Masters student here at Cardiff Met. I am coming to the end of my 4 years here, and as you can imagine, I’m starting to feel a tad nostalgic as my Time Hop and Facebook kindly reminds me (far too often for my liking) of where I was this time 3 years ago; half way through my fresher year! Now firstly, let me know tell you – time flies! Before you know it, you’ll be stood on that stage, in your robe, hoping you’re not the one who falls flat on your face (my clumsiness put me at about a 50/50 chance of falling, add 4” heels and the odds were stacked against me, but luckily I made it across unscathed – few, crisis averted!)
Alongside my masters I am also a Lead Rep, the Chair of the Dance Society and I work 3 days a week as Front of House. So I get a little frustrated when people assume that students ‘work less and play hard’, but I am here to dispel this myth and shed light on what I have really learnt over my 4 years at Cardiff Met. Student life is busy. It is not an easy ride consisting of 3 years full of lazy mornings, partying and last-minute fluked assignments (a dissertation takes a little more effort than that, as us students know all too well). Yes, first year was a welcomed break from your typical 9-5 job, which I did for a year prior to coming to University, and it gives many of us the opportunity to blow off some steam, whilst easing us into the swing of student life before really getting stuck into the nitty-gritty of our degree. But very quickly, and perhaps sooner than others, I realised that being a student was really all about juggling multiple aspects of your life. As with any other job, it’s really all about finding the balance, which is what most of us spend our fresher’s year discovering. However, after the honeymoon phase with Cardiff Met was over, the serious work starts. Having a part-time job whilst studying full time is common, many also participate in sporting activities and so us students learn to juggle Uni work, paid work, volunteering, sports and hobbies and seeing our families whilst having some sort of social life. Now I would say that student life is anything but a breeze, and I actually think I have less free-time than my full-time-employed counterparts. But I wouldn’t swap it for the world… though I would swap our bank balances.
University takes dedication and hard work, you can get as much or as little out of it as you like. In but a short 3 years, because it’s really only like 24 contact months, you will emerge full of knowledge, not just because you will have a degree, but all the other life-skills you’ve gained along the way; whether it’s that best-before-dates are JUST guidelines or that hair straighteners/blow-dryers double up perfectly as an iron. You WILL have a new found independence. I can’t guarantee that you’ll have everything figured out by then but you’ll have grown, you’ll have changed, and what I can guarantee is that it will be worth the waning bank balance, the late nights and a new found reliance on sugary snacks (step away from the Haribo and towards fruit).
Since starting my Job as Front of House for UMAX, I have felt inclined to consider how much I have gotten out of my University experience. Finding UMAX in my last year here is helping me make sure that I’m putting myself in the best position when I leave, and I wish I’d found it during undergrad. I’ve realised that being a busy student has made me an employable student. Whilst I’ve been juggling multiple aspects of my life, I’ve been managing my time effectively and building a range of skills which I could not learn through a journal article. Finding your independence, and knowing what to do in the future can be an uphill battle but that’s not to say that the journey can’t be everything you want it to be. Take a moment to think, the student-life gives you the freedom to craft your own journey; it is what you make it and UMAX can often help make the path easier to find.