About this time two years ago, I started my student blog and have learnt and grown so much since then, with the help of this blog to encourage me to reflect on my experiences. I distinctly remember being concerned that I wouldn’t be able to think of enough things to write about, but wow, has it been the opposite. So, if I’ve learnt one or two things from this, it’s to recognise your fears but to take every opportunity anyway, and also that the things to do and learn at university are honestly endless and it can take a bit of reflection to recognise just how much is happening. I can also remember reading these blogs before starting at Leicester and it never occurred to me that I might eventually become a contributor. So, I’ve learnt to view everything as a possibility – nothing is too big or too small, and what you have to say is always important.
I’m looking towards the next adventures now and I truly couldn’t be where I am without the University of Leicester. It has brought some of the best and most transformative times of my life and has given me the courage and experience to both chase and embrace what’s out there.
Significantly for me, my dissertation may have changed my life. I started university fascinated by criminology but unsure of my special interest, and as time went on, I discovered an interest in green criminology which is a very new and very niche area. I might not have had the self-confidence to pursue it if the criminology department, and especially my supervisor, hadn’t been so supportive and encouraging. Since that initial speculation of interest, I’ve interviewed a highly respected political philosopher, researched and written my dissertation on a topic I’m truly interested in and care about (It’s called ‘Agricultural Service Animals and Companion Animals: A Criminological Approach to the Dichotomy of Criminal Justice Standards’ – I used to be scared to tell people), grown to feel a real sense that my input and opinion can be helpful, even won the Scarman Prize for best dissertation and have been working with my supervisor towards publishing it, and I am now pursuing my next steps within green criminology which I can truly and honestly say I am overwhelmingly excited by.
Most significantly, what I’ve learnt is to have faith in myself and to pursue what I care about even if I don’t have the comfort of clear footsteps to guide my way. As well as coming away from my degree having learnt a lot about criminology and about learning, I’m coming away from it understanding so much more about how to approach life. Leicester will always have a huge place in my heart and I think it will continue to do that for students for years and years to come. We carry our experiences in who we become, so I don’t really feel like I’m saying a real goodbye, but I do feel that my experiences at Leicester have helped me feel ready for what’s next. And it is especially nice how much the university encourages continued contact with all alumni after graduation, I feel like I’ve gained a family member in the form of a city and university.
Good luck to anyone thinking of, soon to start, or currently studying at Leicester, or at any university. It is a truly remarkable place.