At this point it's fair to say that I'm all about QMU. At one stage this year I not only studied, but lived and worked here too: why go anywhere else?
Disclaimer: I’m not a government agent or a celebrity.
To give some context to my coming to QMU, I was in my fourth year of high school and, however much I liked the social side of it, I never did that well academically. It wasn't that I couldn't write an essay, it was more that traditional subjects bored me and I had no real motivation to learn about them (shout out to a half year module dedicated to canals).
So just when I was picking my Higher courses, my year were given a talk by a lady called Sandra, from QMU, who was told us about the University’s Creative Industries Academy (CIA). This is a school to further/higher education programme run by the university.
One aspect of the academy that particularly grabbed my interest was the fact that you would study media and communication two days a week over two years at college and university, whilst still studying at school, and come out the other side with an HNC. What really drew me in was that, whilst you did learn theory and wrote essays, there was so much opportunity for practical exercises - photography, filming, designing magazines and even just how to use Photoshop.
It felt to me that this was a course genuinely focused on teaching you skills, not just trying to cram information into you for the sole purpose of getting you through an exam so that you would be able to sit more exams. So I signed up and, through the course, over two years I attended international conferences, made industry contacts and most importantly discovered that I had a particular knack for public relations. Since I did pass my HNC, I went to join to QMU to do a BA in Public Relations, Marketing and Events. Even though I had already been at the University for two years, it was still a massively daunting experience as I moved away from home and into halls. But the Academy puts you at an advantage as they have already taught you how to reference and write academic essays.
As I write this, I’m just heading into my second year and, looking back so far, I’m amazed by some of the things I have already done. A particular highlight was that a month into the course, I got an email asking to volunteer at the CIPR awards, which is a black tie event celebrating great PR campaigns.
I’ve found that at QMU opportunity is right in front of you, ready for the taking, and that if you grasp the opportunity, you succeed. For example, in the library they have a dedicated (and very friendly) team of people that will help you with essay writing. In student services, the team will tailor a disability package for you and your individual needs. I was speaking to one of my friends (who goes to a large university) back home about how I met my lecturer, Joe, for coffee and she looked surprised. Naturally I asked her why and she said that none of her lecturers knew her name…
As I mentioned previously, I did meet with Joe (Professor Joe Goldblatt, commonly known as the godfather of the field of planned events) and he told me about the STARS programme AKA Student Ambassador Role Scotland. This programme gives QMU students the chance to do paid work all over Edinburgh at major transport hubs and tourist attractions, giving them real experience in the events and tourism sector. I signed up, as the programme seemed perfect for me because it is fully accommodating of your studies and is more challenging than your average part-time job. Interestingly they also appoint a student from the programme to be the coordinator giving them leadership and employability skills. To cut a long story short, I was appointed to the coordinator role and over the summer of 2017 I have looked after 30 STARS across four sites.
And the moral of the story? Well, it’s that one opportunity leads to another, and that at QMU, the opportunities are there for the taking.