by Stephen Pomfret, Head of Collaborative Outreach, Make Happen
Stephen graduated with a BA Hons Media Practice and Theory, from the University of Sussex in 2013. Here’s his story on why he loved his university experience.
I struggled with my subject choice for university. I had taken quite a varied set of A-levels, based on either Media or Maths, so these were the two main subjects I considered. But in the end I decided to take a degree in Media, as I knew I wanted to be a teacher afterwards.
Living in Sussex, I decided to apply for local universities, and got my place at the University of Sussex, to study Media Practice and Theory.
The course was very practical-based. It allowed me to specialise as I moved through my programme, and, I progressed, I ended up focusing on documentary film-making as my practical area, and the financial model of Hollywood as my theoretical area. Both of these were great for allowing me to take the time to discover what I was really interested in. University also offered ‘electives’ which allowed me to take one module outside of my usual subject area each term. In my final year I took a Physics module – to try something completely different and be in a class with a few of my friends.
However, for me the things I most loved about university were all separate to my studies.
I enjoyed my subject, but I then realised I no longer wanted to be a teacher – and that I didn’t want to work in the media, either. My wider university experience, however, gave me some really valuable skills and experiences which have helped my career since. University provided me with some really memorable experiences, that I will remember forever.
As a student I also worked throughout my three years as a student ambassador for an outreach programme – similar to Make Happen – giving advice to prospective students coming to visit the university, and also going in to schools to deliver talks. This eventually led me down the career path I have followed and gave me so many brilliant skills to put on my CV.
As well as the social life, which was amazing, the life skills I gained at university were brilliant. It was a halfway house to being a proper adult; I had to fend for myself, but in a protected environment. In my first year I got my Mum to come and collect my washing (one of the many benefits of going to a local uni!) but by the end I was a wizard with a washing machine.
I made lifelong friends at university, and developed a whole host of career and life skills. I had a brilliant time.