We’re so proud of our class of 2023. 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 pandemic when life – and student life – changed beyond recognition. Here, we’re taking the opportunity to share some of their stories.
Wed 5 Jul 23
As a young carer, Megan Fryer-Kelsey had responsibilities that set her apart from a lot of her peers. This inspired her to learn more about how she can make a difference in society. Now, she is graduating with a BA Politics with Human Rights.
During her second year, Megan was eager to experience what it is like to work and consider prospective options for her career path. So she reached out to Metabolic Support UK (MSUK) for a graduate opportunity and was offered a full-time placement with them.
Megan said: “I was their first full-time placement year student. My role involved interviewing members of the communities to pull together insight for projects and drug and treatment appraisals and organising the online conference.”
“This charity has supported my family in the past as well and so it was great to be part of it and support other families by providing information, advice and support for those with Inherited Metabolic Disorders (IMDs) and their families.
“My placement year has been a real highlight. In addition to developing my skills in thinking about future work and understanding how to progress through a career, it has given me the confidence to put my hand up and offer ideas during class.” she added.
The biggest challenge that Megan faced during her work placement was having to work from home, since that meant there would be limited interactions with her colleagues and “switching to work mode” while at home was tough. Megan added that another critical challenge was “the toll of emotion” where some experiences she heard from others hit too close to home. However, the support from her family and colleagues has helped her overcome these challenges. Further, “having such a personal connection to IMDs gave me such motivation when working”, she added.
Megan credits Dr Robert Kemp for being a great support throughout her time at Essex. Megan said that at a time when it was too late to apply for placement opportunities, she was lucky enough to be accepted by MSUK thanks to Dr Kemp who told her “to not give up on the placement search, but to shift my focus on what really interested me”. Megan also added that he had been there for her emotionally, especially when things got rough, “even during the Christmas break!”
Having finished her placement with MSUK, Megan is currently working with a special needs advisory and activities project, that runs social clubs for young people with additional needs and will be starting a Detective Degree Holder Entry Programme for the Police in September, which will kickstart her career in directly helping people.
Megan recommends Essex to anyone: “There is such a diverse array of events, activities, and things to get involved with almost every day and the support I have got from my teachers, lecturers, and other members of staff has always been great. Essex is a university prospective students should definitely consider.”