Zoe is in her first year of BA Geography with Professional Placement.
She is the first person in her family to go to university, and here talks about what inspired her and gave her the confidence to go to university.
On choosing to go to university
I really wanted to explore how far my academic potential could take me - university was the push I needed to ignite my passion for learning.
I was particularly drawn to the focus on independent study as I wanted to become more self-sufficient and responsible for my learning.
The Manchester Access Programme provided me with the confidence that I could get into a Russell Group university via the security of a reduced grade offer, the financial bursary also reassured me that I could be financially stable as a student.
These two concerns were what made me hesitant about applying for University and without this programme, I do not think I would have continued into higher education.
On choosing Geography at Manchester
I had fantastic experiences with my Geography teachers at both high school and college which inspired the hope that I could be like them in my own career.
Additionally, the University is extremely passionate about sustainability and includes it in its own goals and teaching, which is a large pull factor for me as it’s an area I want to study further and implement in my own life.
I am looking forward to experiencing a professional work placement that will prepare me for my future career.
I am also eager to build a good relationship with my lecturers and other University staff and utilise the knowledge they can offer to deepen my own understanding and awareness of current issues.
On the highlights and challenges so far
The biggest highlight so far is having control over my own learning - the university provides you with the freedom and resources to explore ideas you find interesting and with the extensive library resources the world is truly at your feet.
The social aspect of university has been the biggest struggle thus far due to Covid-19, but you’re at university for a long time and will constantly meet new people when things return back to normal, so I am not overly worried about that.
On where I see Geography taking me in the future
I see my course taking me into a teaching career.
I’m unsure yet if I want to be an educational teacher or an independent worker who can visit multiple places delivering positive messages on sustainability – but it will definitely take me to a place where I can help people lead better lives.
My main goal is to reach the end of my career knowing I’ve had a significant positive impact upon improving the world around us.
On my advice for anyone following in my footsteps
Hard work pays off.
There will be multiple times in your educational career where you feel like you cannot do any more, this is when you push yourself a little more.
Once we go outside our comfort zones and achieve what we never thought was possible, that is when our goals are met.
It’s not about who completes the goal first, it’s about the lessons you learn along the way and how they make you into a well-rounded person.