At Sixth Form, I deliberated over going to university as I was the first member of my family to consider such a pathway. It felt overwhelming to commit three years of my life and I was a little apprehensive about starting something that I was not sure I would enjoy or could even afford. However, the opportunities I was fortunate to be part of whilst participating in the Future Quest programme, have helped me to realise my potential academically and personally, enabled me to learn new things about myself and given me the confidence to meet new people.

I am eternally grateful to have participated in the Future Quest programme during my post-16 journey toward higher education. My Future Quest mentor supported my application to a summer school at Plymouth Marjon’s University, and after a successful week away my self-esteem dramatically improved., My FQ mentor also provided me with outstanding guidance and advice relating to drafting personal statements and applying for student finance (which reassured me that money was not going to be an obstacle) but supported me in communicating with university tutors and advisors to get the best outcome possible. Future Quest also provided me with the most valuable work experience placements, which allowed me to develop important skills valued by prospective employers, such as time management, leadership, teamwork and communication skills.

I was delighted to receive three great offers from some of the top universities, and when I received my A Level results in August 2019, I was accepted at my first-choice, University of Bristol, to study Religion and Theology,. I am so glad I chose Bristol as I was part of a friendly department of professors and lecturers who invested in their students’ futures, providing them with valuable employability skills. There have been various challenges along the way, including the pandemic and battling with a life-changing diagnosis. Still, I enjoyed meeting friendly and like-minded students and ultimately having the opportunity to organise a conference at which I presented my dissertation research. This came with its own challenges and without Future Quest’s mentorship, I would have been in a quite different place concerning how I coped with the setbacks that came with organising a large-scale event.

My future plans include taking a year out to focus on gaining real-world experience working in a school-based environment before training to become a teacher. I also aspire to study for a Master’s in Biomedical Ethics.

My three top tips for thriving at university:

1)           Accept and learn from your mistakes (there will be many!) and remember to stay positive when things get tough! University can at times be difficult; you should try to focus on why you are on this journey and remember that you are there not only to study for your degree, but also to discover what you can contribute to society once you graduate. Remember You will definitely be satisfied that you are furthering your future career prospects.

2)          Find the right balance between study and life.– Ultimately, you are at university to learn, but there is much more to university life. It is an opportunity to develop as a well-rounded individual by discovering your interests, likes and dislikes. Join societies, look for other students with interests outside your course area, and embrace the social side of meeting new people.

3)          Look after your physical and mental health. It is easy to develop bad habits such as eating unhealthily, not sleeping enough or not dedicating enough time to focus on recharging those batteries after a long day or week. Staying fit and healthy (even if that is just taking a 30-minute walk with a friend) helps you to manage your stress and concentrate better on your studies and thus achieve better results.