Loughborough Student Life

Becoming me at university

Making decisions and growing up is not always easy, but it is necessary. Today, if you asked me whether I believed going to university was the right decision, I would honestly tell you it was. However, if you asked me when I was 16 years old whether I wanted to go to university I probably would’ve hesitated. The thing is I didn’t want anything to change. I probably should tell you I haven’t always enjoyed change. My Dad always tells of the time when I was 7 years old at a train station. The guard offered for us to catch an earlier train but as the doors opened I told my Dad I would wait for the next train. The next train was exactly the same and I boarded it without issue.

Coming to university was not like I expected and no one can really tell you what university will be like for you, as you determine your experience. At secondary school I knew nearly all the staff and pupils, yes there was only 1,500 pupils but the headteacher knew me pretty well. At university would I believe that the Vice Chancellor would get to know me, probably not (the Vice Chancellor has even taught one my lectures). But in a weird kind of way the community is so strong, university today is no more daunting than the secondary school I attended.

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The Vice Chancellor pretending to slap me

When I arrived at university my number one concern on day one was fitting in. How do you fit in, well I tried to be someone I was not. However, as time went on the more I did what I enjoyed, the more I became myself. Everyone has their communities, most people are associated with something, whether that is sport, halls, societies, Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU) or their degree. While Geography and Hazelrigg Rutland (the hall I live in) are some of the communities I am part of, the main one for me is LSU Media. While I have always enjoyed media, even from the age of 6 I was filming home videos, did I realise that today I would be running the student radio station? Of course not. It is media which often motivates me to wake up every morning, now for you it probably will not be media but that is your choice to learn.

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In the radio studio preparing for a show

However, putting aside my course and extracurricular activities, learning about myself is the biggest lesson at university. Some things are simple, my favourite foods of whole-wheat pasta, courgettes and garlic bread make there way into many of my meals, some lessons are less simple. Until recently at university I have been very closed about my sexuality, though I feel it has played a massive part of who I am. I have spent large chunks of my life considering what makes me different and hiding part of who I am. At secondary school the idea of someone being gay is significant, so I suppressed the question that I might not be straight. At university I have started accepting who I am, but saying the simple words ‘I am gay’ has taken a long time. The thing is the journey has made me stronger, while the journey has not always been easy, today the people who surround me at university help me embrace me [big shout-out to my friends in Media].

So this journey has led me to where I am today. I write this sentence having just woke up at 6am, why, because I wanted to. I personally find mornings peaceful. When I get stressed there is a walk I always take which gets me away from people. When my little brother suggests I bulk up, I tell him I am perfectly happy being the 55kg I am. And though I hate my voice, this year I have happily presented to 5,000 people, because well I can’t change my voice. I don’t even have a problem with the fact in some lecture halls I have to sit in a certain seat because I am left handed and most tables are for right handed people. Being myself at university is all I can do and every day I continue to piece together who I am.

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Geography graduate from Nottingham. Describe Loughborough in one word? All-encompassing.