In our series of lockdown blogs, Stephen Pomfret, Head of Make Happen, looks back at how his university experience of a decade ago has shaped his career so far.
Almost 10 years ago, in September 2010, I started at the University of Sussex to study a degree in Media Practice and Theory. A decade later I think it’s a good time to reflect on the experience and talk about how my education has shaped my career and life.
I’ve spoken briefly in a previous article on the website about my university experience, so I won’t be going into all the details of every aspect of my experience again, but in retrospect I chose the completely wrong subject for my degree.
At school I loved maths and ICT, but I always wanted to be a teacher and teaching media seemed like the more interesting option to me. However, this meant I struggled to find the motivation for my subject at times as it wasn’t a passion. As you can tell from the fact that I’m writing this blog, I didn’t go on to become a teacher or work in the media, however I wouldn’t be where I am today without going to university.
In my first year I took on a part-time job as a student ambassador, showing students from local schools around the campus and giving talks on my university experience. This job became my real passion during my time at university, I looked forward to every shift and I knew I had found something I wanted to continue working in after I graduated.
At graduation I took advantage of a university internship programme to work as a marketing officer for a small training provider. After a year or so an opportunity came up to return to the university to work in the team I was an ambassador for. I jumped at the chance and ran their summer schools as well as a range of other outreach activities. My next job was in the same field but substantially different type of work, data analysis.
I think we all heard someone in maths or ICT at school say I won’t use this in the real world what’s the point. Well, here I was combining my passion for supporting students with my A level Maths and ICT to analyse huge amounts of data to identify activity to best support students to succeed.
Whilst I have no doubt I did the wrong subject at university, all of my choices shaped my journey through life.
In my current role, as the Head of Make Happen, I use my experiences in marketing, media, ICT, maths and delivering activity on a daily basis. As well as all of these career benefits I met my fiancée at university and made a number of friends for life. University is not the right choice for everybody, but it definitely was for me.