Lockdown blog: Reflecting on 10 years after uni

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.

"University is not the right choice for everybody, but it definitely was for me."