Saying ‘yes’ at pivotal moments
Amy Guy, M(Comp) Web Technology, University of Lincoln
When I was at school, writing and designing websites was always a hobby, but I did completely unrelated A’ levels. Everyone expected me to go to Cambridge and do chemistry or languages or something but I thought – No! I am going to go and do computing at Lincoln. I had looked around carefully and resolutely decided that I liked their web technology course best and that was where I wanted to go.
As soon as I got to university something clicked – and I thought I just want to do things and not worry about the consequences, just make a few jumps.
With hindsight I can track the university experience I have had back to pivotal moments. Through high school I was quite reserved and I didn’t have a great sense of adventure. I was always very hesitant about risk taking. But as soon as I got to university something clicked – and I thought I just want to do things and not worry about the consequences, just make a few jumps. I have more of a can do attitude now. I am reasonably sure there is a way I can change the world… and I will keep saying yes to things until I get there.
One of the first times I put this into practice was in the first year. Someone asked me to help raise money for their trip to India and I said ‘I don’t just want to raise money, can I come too?’ I ended up spending two weeks in India with the charity People First India. They fund education for vulnerable children.
I think we need to make a big deal of the fact that all these opportunities are there at university and that you have to make the most of them.
I think we need to make a big deal of the fact that all these opportunities are there at university and that you have to make the most of them. For example, I joined the Women in Technology Society, where I met two really good mentors – a Professor and a PhD student. Through them I went to a couple of conferences and ultimately I got a placement with Google through someone I met at a conference. I learned the value of going out and networking and meeting people in this industry.
University of Lincoln and Siemens have jointly built the UK’s first purpose-built School of Engineering in more than 20 years
The staff in my department support this approach too. They are all forward thinking and want to get people involved. This is the focus of the Students as Producers work at Lincoln that I am involved with. It is about changing education, and the psychology behind learning at university. It makes learning more meaningful if you are actually learning by doing rather than by being told.
Another thing I have been able to make use of is ‘Enterprise at Lincoln,’ a company under the umbrella of the university. It is for start-up businesses, for students and recent graduates. The rent is cheap and business advice and all the amenities are included in the price. I know this because I started a company with two of my friends who are media students. They make films and make most of their money from adverts on YouTube – I am the web developer!
If I was to give advice to someone who was going to university for the first time I would say don’t say no to opportunities even if they are scary. But also don’t say yes to everything because you will drown (that is the one I struggle with!) Look at everything that your university has to offer and take charge of your own journey.