How can university transform your life? As I reflect upon my university adventures, I notice the incredible ways that my time at the University of Essex has shaped me into the person I am today. In this blog, I will explore five ways that university has changed my life and aided my personal growth.


Martina standing in the EBS winter garden surrounded by plants

1. Development of critical thinking skills


One of the most important changes that university has brought into my life is the development of critical thinking skills. Throughout my academic pursuits, I have been challenged to analyse information, question assumptions, and approach problems from multiple perspectives. My ability to think critically enriched my academic endeavours and also influenced my everyday life, helping me to make informed decisions and navigate complex situations with confidence.

2. Gaining independence and self-reliance

The university experience is a test zone for the development of independence and self-reliance, offering a unique opportunity for personal growth. The demands of managing your schedule, navigating coursework, and exploring academic content gives you a great sense of autonomy. This newfound independence equipped me with the resilience to face challenges that extended far beyond the academic sphere, shaping me into a confident and capable individual.

3. Embracing diversity and inclusivity

The presence of people from all over the world at university creates a perfect environment for personal and intellectual enrichment. Interacting with individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences gave me a deep appreciation for diversity and inclusivity. This exposure not only broadened my worldview but also instilled a commitment to embracing differences, fostering an inclusive environment, and contributing positively to societal discourse.

4. Learning resilience

Guess what? University isn't always smooth sailing. There are tough times, setbacks, and moments that make you go, "Oops!". But the best part is that these moments are great lessons for resilience. I've learned to bounce back, keep going, and face challenges head-on. Resilience is my new superpower! Whether I'm navigating academic setbacks, meeting deadlines, or manoeuvring through the intricacies of interpersonal relationships. The ability to rebound from setbacks, persevere and emerge stronger is a valuable life skill I learnt during my university years.

5. Increased opportunities through networking


Beyond the academic experience, university serves as a tool for networking and relationship-building. Engaging with professors, fellow students, and industry professionals opens doors to a myriad of opportunities. The connections made during this period not only provided me with mentorship and career guidance but also with a sense of community. These relationships, built during university life, extend beyond graduation, enriching your professional journey and expanding horizons in unexpected and fulfilling ways.

In conclusion, the university experience has been a journey of intellectual discovery and personal growth, shaping the trajectory of my life in many ways. From the development of critical thinking to learning resilience, each facet of this academic chapter has contributed to my development. As fellow students embark on their university journey, my advice is to embrace the opportunities for growth, navigate the challenges with resilience, and emerge from this experience with a rich portfolio of skills and insights that will last throughout your life.

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