As Emily finishes her final exams, she shares her thoughts and tips to make the most of university and discusses her next steps after undergraduate study.
By Emily Alger.
This week I finished my undergraduate degree at Warwick. Over the span of 5 years I have sat 33 exams and submitted my dissertation. Now, as I write this, I have 3 weeks left of university. It’s safe to say I am getting nostalgic and reflecting on the years, and the growth, I have experienced whilst at Warwick.
Don’t be scared to push yourself
The best way I can describe university is as a growth experience. It pushes you to your potential in every aspect of your character. Academically, I am leaving Warwick a much better statistician than I arrived. However in terms of my personal growth, Warwick has transformed me and my confidence. I arrived at university nervous and apprehensive of how I would fit in, but I leave as a member of the most diverse community. If you feel overwhelmed at times at university, that is understandable. University is a big change and not something you grow into overnight. Don’t push yourself too far whilst at university. Change and confidence grow overtime. At the same time, try not to run away from new experiences. Take them at your own pace and notice how far you have come!
You deserve to be here
My degree at Warwick has been challenging. I went from a small school with 3 Further Maths students to a large cohort of bright, ambitious undergraduates. You can feel like a small fish in a big pond, but university offers you a great opportunity to network and work alongside some of the brightest students in the country. You might feel intimidated by the cohort but remember that Warwick offered you a place like everyone else on your course and you need to be confident in your abilities. Everyone will find some part of their degree hard, always remember you deserve to be here.
Don’t expect all the answers straight away
When I arrived at Warwick, I was often asked what career I wanted in the future and what internships I was applying to. As a first year I never had an answer and that’s not a bad thing. Five years down the line I have a clear picture for my career and where I want to be. This has come after 5 years of successful (and unsuccessful) internships, countless modules, and advice. Enjoy the experience and take the opportunities which come your way. Whilst at university I have learnt that everything often happens for a reason and every opportunity you take helps map out your future.
My next steps
If you asked me whether I would be a PhD candidate at the start of university I would never have believed you. However, here I am. Having finished my Integrated Masters in Mathematics and Statistics, I begin a PhD within Clinical Trials at the Institute of Cancer Research in October. Over the summer I am also working as a Research Assistant at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge. I hope to train to be a medical statistician, a field I had never considered when I was applying for finance internships in first year. Both of these opportunities originated by chance conversations or emails from members of my department. It reminds me of the importance of grabbing opportunities when they come and setting aside fears, such as imposter syndrome, when I apply. If you want to start thinking about your future and you’re not sure where to start, just apply to what feels right and what you think you might enjoy. No opportunity needs to define your whole career. Take opportunities and apply with an open mind.
Embrace every opportunity you receive at university. Embrace the journey and don’t worry too much about the end destination, trust that you will guide yourself there.
How are you feeling after exams and what are your next steps? Let us know by leaving a comment below, by tweeting us @warwicklibrary or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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