Journey's End | Nadia - Keele University

By Issy Goode - 20:21

I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's always so interesting to read about the experience of others at university and see how much it differed to your own, but more so when you studied at the same University. I got to know the latest student to share her story, Nadia, through my blog. I share a lot of posts on the Facebook University forums and people got familiar with my face after I was spamming posts in the run up to Freshers' Week a few years back. It's how I've come to know plenty of people over the years, and it's lovely that Nadia has been kind enough to share her story. Nadia studied Human Biology and Mathematics and graduated Keele this year...

Have you enjoyed your time at university? 
Overall, yes. However my experience has had may lows, as well as highs. 

Do you have any regrets?
I don’t know. Part of me regrets not switching to single honours Maths in second year, but then again, my grades in Human Biology have always been higher than my grades in Maths. They are what ultimately pulled my grades up. Nevertheless, I do my best to never have regrets. What’s done is done and the positive aspects of my life may not have occurred if it weren’t for the choices I made in the past.

Is there something that you really wish you had done, but never got the chance to?
I regret not attending a normal KRAP night. Numerous times I have made plans to go, but they never followed through. I have attended KRAP Karnage and other larger events, but I have never been to one of the weekly nights. I know I really missed out on that one! They have always sounded like a lot of fun!

What was the highlight of your university years?
Academically, I would say my highlight was the most recent results day. I found out that I got my first ever 1st in a module that was entirely coursework! Socially, this is incredibly cheesy but I would say it was the night I first kissed my now boyfriend! (Or one of my favourite events – Mariachi Band night, 80s Night, Sink in the Pink, etc.) More generally, perhaps my overall highlight was performing one of my all-time favourite musical theatre songs (‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ from Funny Girl) on the Ballroom stage in front of my friends and family and, if I do say so myself, absolutely nailing it! hahaa...

Keele Musical Theatre Society - Christmas 2013
Do you feel you’ve changed over the years? 
I’ve become more cynical and sarcastic. Not too much though, I’m probably just more British now. In all seriousness though, I think I’ve become less naïve now too. I have always tried to befriend everyone I meet, to some degree. I’ve always been very good at ignoring the less appealing aspects of people’s personalities and tried my best to at least be civil with everyone. No matter whether they hate my best friend or have been mean to me in the past. I always believed in being polite and civil no matter what. Whereas now, I guess I do not see the point in putting in the effort with people who clearly do not reciprocate. This may be a negative thing, but it somewhat works in my favour. All my life I have tried so hard to be friends with everyone, that I struggled to get close to those few around me. However now, I can say I have made a handful of really close friends, that I am sure I will be in touch with after university. 

Has your friendship group changed much?
At home I am still friends with the same few people. I may not talk to them as often as I used to (which is a shame), but whenever I see them we all still get along exactly as we did in high school. At university however, my friendship group has changed a lot. I started university thinking it would be different to high school and that no matter what type of person you are, we will all get along. Turns out, university is still a lot like high school, everyone just tries to be more mature about it, that’s all. Certain “cliques” of people form over the first two years. But by third year, you learn who your friends really are.

What was your biggest achievement during your university years?
Handing in my dissertation in on time, not pooing myself and not getting called up on plagiarism for it. Hahaa I’ll probably explain this in a later question.

Do you feel like going to university has been worthwhile?
Yes and no. Yes, because I have made wonderful friends, gained a boyfriend who I do not deserve and learned some valuable lessons about life, independence and how to make a cracking seafood paella. No, because over the last few weeks I finally decided which sector I wish to pursue a career in. Hospitality – nothing to do with Human Biology and Mathematics (shockingly enough). I know what you’re thinking, going to university is a valuable experience no matter what you do (or don’t do) with it. However, getting into Hospitality has meant starting from the bottom. Working alongside those who barely attempted A Levels, let alone a university degree. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no shame in it. I am so happy that I have finally figured out what I want to do. I just wish I could say these past three years were necessary and will help get me where I want to be. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

What are your plans now?
At the time of writing this: Celebrate my friends’ graduations. Then get my head down and revise for my resit, so I can eventually celebrate my own graduation! Fingers crossed!

How do you feel about graduation day?
Well funnily enough, the day that I'm writing this should be my graduation day. I watched my friends graduate without me. I have to resit a first semester exam next month, so I don’t qualify to graduate until October. I got a little sad as the ceremony started, but then I told myself that today isn’t about me. I am here to support my coursemates. So that’s what I did! I am so so proud of them all! My graduation I am not thinking about, I need to worry about my resit first!

What was it like doing a final year project?
Horrific. Sorry, but I hated it. I started months in advance, but was still writing it up to half an hour before the deadline. Before handing it in, I had been awake for a total of 36 hours. I hadn’t eaten anything and I was so stressed I had made myself ill (hence the aforementioned over-share about not pooing myself hahaa). I had rushed the references in the final two hours before handing it in and so I was sure I would get called up for plagiarism. I remember furiously typing away in the library and seeing someone, who was doing the same dissertation, just happily chatting and laughing with his friends. I was so angry and jealous. When everyone was posting photos of themselves on Facebook with their final copies, I was running round with greasy hair hating every moment. I was in no way proud of myself. That is, not until I found out that I got a 2.1 for it. How I managed that, I will never know!

What advice would you give to students going into their final year?
Start the research for your final year project during the Summer. Don’t be a recluse, but also don’t spend too much of your time socialising! The best way to socialise without writing off the following morning/day, is to have nights in! Board game drinking nights, BBQs, house meals, etc. Events that you can start and then end early are the way to go!

What was the best night out you had at university? 
There has been so many! But probably the 80s themed charity night in third year. I was dressed as Madonna and my boyfriend was dressed as Boy George. When ‘Like a Prayer’ came on, I got up on that stage and lip-synched my heart out… until security made me get off. It was a lot of fun and I am a sucker for fancy dress!!

How did freshers week feels as a final year?
I think it is what you make it. I think it would’ve been better if some of my friends weren’t all “everyone is so young and annoying”. When you’ve been going to regular nights out at the same venue for three years, you have to learn to just let loose and not focus on all the annoying things. Otherwise, you are just going to ruin it for yourself! I believe that as long as you spent the majority of the night on the dance floor, you will have fun!

How did your nights out change as university went on?
As the workload piled, I went out less and less over second and third year. I think this is something you expect though! However, when I did go out in third year, I made sure I didn’t take any of it for granted!

Would you do it all again? 
Nooooo, I’m more than happy with how my overall experience has been and I am done with full time education.

Do you plan on settling down near your university, moving back home, or going somewhere new? 
I am back at home. I want to save up some money and gain some work experience. Then hopefully in 6 months to a year’s time I can think about moving in with my boyfriend. 

What’s your plan after graduation?
Gain experience within different aspects of Hospitality. I have already gained a Supervisor position in Housekeeping for a Hotel Cleaning company. So I have my foot in the door. Next step is to apply for more roles in other areas, hopefully in the Cambridge area near my boyfriend so that we can rent a house together.

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