Our class of 2021 really are something to shout about. They’ve overcome challenges, helped others, grasped opportunities and developed their skills, showing their Essex Spirit in so many ways. And they’ve done it all during a pandemic when student life has been changed beyond recognition. We couldn’t be prouder of them so we’re telling their stories.
Wed 14 Jul 21
Like many students, when she was leaving sixth form Eleanor Bennett was unsure what she wanted to do, so decided to take a year out of education and instead joined a finance company as an information consultant.
Today, after enrolling a little later than most students, she’s graduating with a BSc Banking and Finance and looking forward to a career in business intelligence.
Eleanor says that although she loved her job, and the people she worked with, she realised she wanted to further her education, so at the age of 19 came to Essex for a foundation year.
Her year of work meant Eleanor started at Essex with a slightly different mindset, as she explained: “Taking a year out to fully understand what I wanted to do in my professional life helped motivate me. Consequently, I have remained focused and really passionate about my degree throughout my time at Essex.
“I think this made the social side more challenging because of the difference in approaches to university life, as I wanted to get my head down and focus on my studies and I felt that sometimes created a distance between myself and others.”
Eleanor decided to grasp every opportunity offered to her at Essex and particularly wanted to help fellow students, as she had been helped during her first year.
“I attended a revision help class. Final-year students came to give us advice on the best ways to revise to help us perform at our best and succeed during this stressful period. I remember taking lots of pointers from this session, and it really helped to hear from other students. I put this advice into practice and it helped me to succeed. So, I felt going forward other students would benefit from my experience as I had”, she said
"I have grown so much personally, professionally and of course academically during my time at Essex, and I will forever be grateful for the experience I've had here."
In the first year of her degree she acted as Peer Mentor for foundation students, running drop-in sessions for students struggling with course content. In her second year she was part of the Student Engagement Team and in her final year she participated in the Career Mentoring Programme as well as taking part in various volunteering projects throughout her time at Essex.
She also led the SET Connect Team, which aims to improve students’ experience, both socially and academically by organising events that would help students connect with others in their department. She credits her role as team leader with helping her to develop many skills including event planning, research skills, creativity, teamwork, communication and responsibility.
“I have grown so much personally, professionally and of course academically during my time at Essex, and I will forever be grateful for the experience I’ve had here. I have thoroughly enjoyed the quality of teaching I have received, and the whole learning experience. The academic support I have received has been great, if ever I have had trouble understanding something, the lecturers have always been so supportive and there are lots of options to get help,” she said.
Academically she excelled – winning prizes in both her first and second years. While all of her activities, on top of her own course work, helped her achieve the Bronze, Silver and Gold Big Essex Awards
As for the future – Eleanor has been offered a place on a graduate scheme at FDM as a Business Intelligence Analyst.