I owe a lot to Manchester. She’s been good to me. She welcomed me with open arms, she made me comfortable, she introduced me to her people, she challenged me, she shaped me- she grew me through and through. I’m graduating in 7 days so this kind of post is requisite. Now, don’t mind if I do.
For many, coming to university abroad is a natural progression from further education. It’s guaranteed, almost automatic. But for me, no. Coming to Manchester was a miracle of many sorts. Let’s start with the fact that I was 17 when I finished school. Seventeen. A decade and seven years. So no, my parents were not enthusiastic about the idea of an education abroad. For a long time, it was not even an option. But somehow, I insisted. And after a while, one parent bought the idea, and subsequently convinced the other. Thankfully, my grades reinforced that initial skepticism, and it became a little easier to push the agenda.
Secondly, university abroad is not cheap. It’s expensive. It’s very expensive. It’s one thing to get you to university, and it’s another to keep you there. I don’t take it for granted for one second, that I was able to be in university, and complete it in 3 years. I owe a lot to my parents for working so hard, and I owe the most to God, for making it possible. I read this quote somewhere, before I came to uni, and it really encouraged me.
“God’s will, God’s bill“
Thirdly- law school gave me grief, and grief in abundance. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again- I found it really tough. For many reasons- the content, the teaching style, the (sometimes) tedious modules. Law school did wonders for my confidence. Having done really well in my IB exams, it seemed obvious that this success was transferable. But oh wow! When you start doubting yourself to the point of astonishment, you begin to understand that things work a whole lot differently in university. However, I must add, it can be done- and done well at that! I thank God so much, because despite a really really hard 3 years, I managed to do very well. Smart work and prayers together do wonders.
If there’s anything university has taught me, it’s that life goes above and beyond academics. My biggest and most profound lessons have come from the challenges of university life. My theory is that the struggles you face in university reflect the ones you will face ‘out there’. I’ve mostly learnt about failure, vulnerability and courage.
I’ve said this before but I think it’s worth mentioning again. I was really enthusiastic about getting involved in university when I first joined. There’s that first year glow that seems to emanate from Freshers’, and I was no exception. I applied for it all- Law Society representative, internships, committee member, global graduate scheme, vacation placement, part-time jobs, enterprise competitions- the list is endless. And likewise, the rejections seemed endless. You actually just wonder, should I just stop altogether or what? But I learnt a few things. I learnt to appreciate the beauty in trying. I learnt that just because you put yourself out there in pursuit of something, it does NOT automatically mean you’ll get it. And that’s okay, because there is SO much to gain from trying, making an effort, putting yourself out there. So don’t ever stop. Don’t ever feel like you try too hard and never achieve anything. I believe strongly that the more you try, the closer you are to achieving something great. And that’s definitely been the case for me. I won an election at my students union this year and I started a venture that is very close to my heart. It made the past few years of effort worth it. It is honestly the greatest feeling in the world and there is nothing to explain it. Failure is inevitable, and the sooner you accept it, the closer you are to your goals.
And of course, I can’t forget to thank Manchester for inspiring the steady ascension of my eyebrow game. Let’s hope it stays there.