My Life at the University of Surrey By Hannah, Final Year undergraduate student

I am currently in my third and final year at university, studying Criminology. It has definitely been challenging, but it has made me the person that I am today. Attending the University of Surrey has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have many highlights of my overall experience, however, a favourite one that stands out the most was the day I moved into my university accommodation in my first year – that feeling of excitement, as well as feeling nervous! Unpacking all my belongings and then running upstairs to meet all my new house mates and helping them to unpack too! My first night out at university was definitely one to remember! Spending the evening with my new friends, cooking dinner together and then getting ready for our very first night out to see ‘Scouting for Girls’! It was amazing and a night I will always remember. We strolled back to our accommodation at 3am and ordered a massive pizza to share! University has definitely changed me as a person as before I came here, I was a really quiet, shy girl who had no confidence at all. However, 3 years on, I am much more confident and have learned to stay positive in life. Being at university has also taught me various life skills as this was the first time I lived alone, independently.

Being at university has definitely taken me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to do things that I wouldn’t normally do. I have undertaken various presentations throughout my time at university, which is something I would never have even thought about when I first started. The continuous support from staff has been amazing, they always encourage you to do your best. I threw myself straight in the deep end and presented in front of my class. Since that day, I have been able to go out and apply for jobs. Despite being petrified of attending an interview – I thought if I can do a presentation, I can certainly do an interview! Before I came to university, I was scared of getting things wrong, however, throughout my time here, I have realised that it is ok to make mistakes since that is how we all learn. It is ok to email a member of staff if you are struggling and it is certainly ok to put your hand up during class if you don’t understand something. You need people around you to point out your mistakes, so you can make yourself a better person by correcting them. I have become very responsible whilst I have been at university, managing my own time better and ensuring that I get everything done I need to do.

My friendship group has changed too. I still have my friends from back home, but here at university, I have made friends for life! We all face the same challenges each and every day, such as coursework deadlines, revision for exams etc. but we have created this bond to motivate one another, which encourages you to do your best. During my second year and especially my third year now, the nights out that you go on feel so much more rewarding! I go out much less now due to writing up my essays and revising for my exams, but there is nothing better than completing a huge part of your essay and then celebrating your hard work on a night out with friends!

University has definitely been worthwhile. You learn something new each day and you will grow in confidence and meet people who will be your friends for life! My time at the University of Surrey has been amazing! All the staff here offer you so much support and help you to achieve great things! When I graduate, I am hoping to join the Police Force. I will definitely be coming back to talk about my new career and how my degree helped me learn so many new things. My dream job is to become a Probation Officer. When I found out I was going to be studying the module ‘Prisons and Prisoners’ during my final year I was so excited, as I realised the new information I was going to learn on this module would benefit my future knowledge when applying to be a Probation Officer! Within this module, I have been able to understand the experience prisoners go through and the variety of needs each individual has and contemplating different methods in order to make prisons work and for these institutions to become more beneficial to prisoners in order to prepare them for the outside world. This module has definitely been my favourite along with studying Forensic Science in my first year and having a mock crime scene set up for us. We put on our forensic suits and gathered evidence in order to establish the cause of what had happened! Within my degree, I have learnt many things that open a wide range of jobs that I could apply for. I have a variety of skills that I have adapted throughout university which has made my career path a lot more flexible!

I am feeling quite anxious, but also excited, about graduation day. Being able to stand up in front of my parents with all my friends, holding my certificate and knowing that the overall mark that I gained, is something that I have worked so hard for. I will be sad to graduate from University, as I have met so many amazing people and it has been the greatest experience of my life and one I will never ever forget. I have some very important advice for students who are thinking about university….’AIM HIGH AND ACHIEVE BIG!’ Take each day at a time, work hard, party hard and remember, if you need any help/support don’t be afraid to ask!