…by Jess / from England / studying French and Linguistics / 2nd Year (UG)
Confidence is something that I have struggled with since my childhood; overthinking and not feeling happy with myself left me as a quiet girl who found it hard to interact with my peers. This led to me being trapped in a vicious cycle of being picked on because I was quiet and being quiet because I was picked on. It has taken me almost twenty years to be content with who I am and without doubt, being a student at Edinburgh is the reason I’ve finally overcome my battle with confidence. Ultimately, I have become the adventurous, confident and bubbly go-getter with a positive perspective of myself and my prospects for the future; in all honesty, coming to Edinburgh was the best decision I’ve ever made!
From the moment my mum and I got off the train to the Edinburgh Open Day, I got an incredible feeling about the city. Filled with Hogwarts-like buildings, homely bagpipes and a warm Scottish atmosphere, I knew straight away Edinburgh was the place my heart was– it just felt right! After many stressful months of A-Levels, I opened my marks on A-Level results day to find that I had been accepted into Edinburgh – that was possibly one of my happiest days ever. Moving about six hours away from home, my opportunity to have a fresh start had arrived and it was time to come out of my shell!
Coming from a lower income background, my University of Edinburgh Scholarship has been an absolute blessing; this has allowed me to experience so many things that I wouldn’t have had the means to at any other university. Therefore, in my first year, I joined Edinburgh Global Partnerships (EGP) – a student-run sustainable development charity that sends students out onto community-led projects across the globe. I was placed in team of five other students I had never met before with the goal of raising fundraising £9,900 as a team for the construction of a community vocational centre for orphans and vulnerable children in Solwezi, Zambia. From hitchhiking to Amsterdam to participating in the Meadows Marathon – our team really stepped out of our comfort zone to achieve our fundraising target. For me, EGP is the best thing I’ve ever done; my experiences led me to be elected for the committee in my second year.
Equally, I have been lucky enough to be a Curriculum Ambassador in my second year, teaching French to 30 Primary 6 pupils at Prestonfield Primary School with the mission of widening participation into higher education. By the end of 6 months of weekly teaching, it was incredible to see how much the children had learnt and for the last lesson, I planned a French café for them all, bringing in lots of French foods. The children had to ask for what they wanted in French and they absolutely loved it – the teacher said it was her craziest day in teaching in the best way possible! It’s the little things like that which make it all worthwhile. This experience was so valuable, as I hope to follow in the footsteps of my teacher and complete the Teach First programme myself.
The opportunities are endless, this summer I have taken up the opportunity to gain an insight into the working world at Tracsis Traffic and Data Analysis Ltd as well as software development company Scott Logic; these experiences will give me a fresh perspective on my degree and my future. After this, I will be working as a counsellor at Lake Delaware Boys Camp in New York State this summer. Then finally, I go on my year abroad to Aix-Marseille Université in France in September, which is where I’ll be studying in French and gaining a brand new cultural perspective.
Summing up, Edinburgh has it all and is the perfect place to nurture the best version of yourself possible. So just go for it! It’s what you make of it. I will never regret my decision to come to University of Edinburgh and I wouldn’t change it for the world.