We’re so proud of our class of 2022. They’ve overcome enormous challenges, helped others, grasped opportunities, and developed their skills, showing their Essex Spirit in so many ways. And they’ve done all of this during a global pandemic when life – and student life – changed beyond recognition. Here, we’re taking the opportunity to share some of their stories.
Tue 12 Jul 22
Five years ago, Jonathan West never thought he would have his dream job as a physiotherapist, but now, after graduating, he is about to embark on just that.
Jonathan West was already familiar with Essex when he came here to study for a BSc Physiotherapy.
Having graduated from Essex in 2012 with a linguistics degree, he knew it was the place for him.
“When I studied here before, I loved the fact that the Campus is fairly small but vibrant and constantly expanding,” he said. “I also liked the emphasis on inclusivity and equality for all students, and was drawn to the high quality of teaching.”
He was inspired to return to university after working in a hospital as a medical secretary, where he saw the difference the in-house physiotherapist made to peoples' lives.
“I’ve long been interested in the value of exercise for physical and mental health, especially in people with long-term health conditions,” he said. “Also, because of my own experiences, I was interested in managing and treating running-related injuries.”
Jonathan made a positive contribution to the School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences while at Essex. As well as being dedicated to his studies, he took over the role of chair of the Physiotherapy Society, where he worked with other cohorts to grow the Society.
He also assisted in the accreditation of the University’s new Physiotherapy Degree Apprenticeship programme, meeting with representatives from the professional body to share his experiences of the University.
This year, in May, Jonathan completed a final practice placement in a new, innovative placement setting that had not been used before. His tutors, who describe him as their “physiotherapy trailblazer” said he was selected for this placement opportunity due to his proactive and positive approach to his studies. Jonathan enjoyed the placement, which was the last of six over the three-year degree, and was able to put his physio skills into practice.
The main challenge of his degree was when classes had to be delivered online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Switching to online classes halfway through our first year presented an unexpected set of challenges. It was tricky revising practical skills with a laptop and camera.”
He said that during this time, it was sometimes difficult to find motivation, but he made sure that he kept in touch with friends old and new, and that helped to keep him going.
He is proud that, like many other students, he persevered during these challenging times.
“Five or six years ago, I never would have thought I’d be a physio,” he said. “I’m proud of the fact that I gained the skills and experience to become one.”
Jonathan already has a physiotherapy job lined up – he starts it the same week he graduates.