All of a sudden, it is all officially over. With about thirty minutes to spare before my plane takes off and I’ll be home once again, after a year I am able to say I have another place I can call home. Here are some of my reflections:
This first year of Uni has been a challenging and exciting journey and it is undeniable that it has gone by perhaps too quickly. It seems like yesterday that Fresher’s Week had begun. It all felt so different, so new. I remember being in a room with around two hundred students, not knowing anybody. We were all there, in a room, when we heard the noise of a bell that made us look up from our phones. It was Stefan with his unconventional way of grabbing our attention. He made us understand from the beginning that University was something different from school, a more open place that helps us both to learn and grow personally. And who could forget Mark? His passion motivated me instantly, giving me that extra boost I needed to go through the initial times in this unexplored context. I am sure this feeling was shared by many of my colleagues. Together they ran the Ideas modules, which were a new way to learn and had some obvious highs and lows.
My personal favourite was a philosophical lecture given by Stratos. Up to this day, I am still wondering if a cup can be called a doughnut. That lecture was easily the highlight of the Ideas 1 module – without taking anything away from other guest speakers such as Alan Whithead MP or the tour guide from SeaCity Museum. In that lecture I understood what Mark and Stefan are trying to convey to us with their innovative ways of learning. Just being as open-minded as possible, being curious, inquirers, critical thinkers etc. It was probably in that moment that I realized I was not in high school anymore.
And oh Roy, who could forget the man, the legend? Despite accounting not being the most exciting of modules for me, I went to lectures just because of him. His charisma, his jokes and just everything about him made me understand that there are more ways to learn, that having a laugh often can help you. Even in Technologies
1 he somehow managed to interest me in historic transports and networks!! I am hoping in the next few years the lecturers will be as engaging as he was.
On to the second semester, which I entered a lot more prepared and ready for the challenge. In Ideas 2 the guest speakers provided some highlights. Just thinking about Marianna from Warwick University talking about gender inequality or Sasha from Grant Thornton, who showed us how they are trying to implement what we are currently learning in Southampton. So what we are learning is useful! I found Ideas 2 to be more interesting than Ideas 1, and I believe more of us actually tried to engage and constantly participate in the discussions – maybe this was only because we had to write weekly questions? Who knows. Anyway, this second semester was more enjoyable, both because of the actual content, but mainly because many of us came together as a group, hence going to lectures and discussing ideas was not as draining as it had been in the first semester. Nonetheless, Ideas 2 was not quite as enjoyable as Key Skills. The lectures taught me exactly what I expected to be learning in Uni. Professor Clark seemed so passionate about this, and I loved all of his lectures, especially the one on negotiation skills. Unfortunately when representing my organization I did not manage to negotiate a good enough deal, but oh boy I loved that session!
Many say university life is stressful, and in a way it is. But thinking about how much time I had for myself, to spend playing football, hanging out whenever with friends from my course and from my flat, going to bed and waking up whenever I want. This is the best time of our lives, and I have enjoyed every single minute of it.
I could stay here and talk about my first year of university for hours, but my plane is about to leave so I better hurry. This quick reflection was to show how grateful I am to everybody who shared this first part of my journey with me, and how much I am looking forward to more and exciting adventures in the years to come. Thank you Southampton, I will see you soon.