Well, we’ve been in class for three week and I can honestly say I’m having a blast! The lectures have been interesting and my classmates are top-notch. I really do think this is going to be an excellent year at university. But, with everything, there are both challenges that must be addressed and opportunities that must be taken advantage of.
One of the greatest challenges I have encountered, and will continue to encounter, is the cultural difference between the United Kingdom, my classmates, and myself. Newsflash: English in England is different than English in America. Though I had some idea of this before I left the states, I didn’t realise how much it would impact me. The best way to overcome this is to just relax and understand that it will take time to feel comfortable saying words such as “toilet” and “queue”. Change doesn’t happen overnight. I also need to constantly remind myself that most of my classmates come from countries where English is not their first language. Group work will take time and patience but in the end, we will not only learn the material together, but also learn how to work as a diverse team. This skill will most certainly carry over into my professional career.
Another challenge I’m having is actually being back in school. I haven’t been out of the classroom for that long, but two years in the real world does make a difference. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be in a classroom setting, listening to lectures for hours, and taking notes. Sure, I attended conferences and took notes in meetings as a Junior Media Planner, but I was in a different mind-set. Not to mention I was paid to attend those conferences and take notes during meetings. All I need to do is try to remember what it was like when I was 22 – a senior marketing student at Arizona State University, searching for a job, and enjoying my last year as an undergrad. It’s basically the same feeling and I plan to take in all that I can with the one year I have as a postgraduate student.
There are so many opportunities here at Southampton! The tricky task is finding the rights ones that will benefit my future. The DigiChamps are an organisation that helps the University of Southampton community by giving workshops on the digital world, coordinating events to support new technologies, and participating in educational projects. This is an organisation I want to get more involved with to not only better myself, but to also help others. The University also offers a plethora of workshops and seminars from practicing your interview skills to meeting international business professionals. It’s just a matter of finding the right workshops that fit my professional skill building needs.
There are many challenges to overcome and even more opportunities to embrace as I move forward with the year. With that, I can’t wait to see what happens!