We Are Essex

Rachel's story

Rachel Odumuso headshot

"Growing up in London I would say the police didn’t really interact with the community. The community relations have a big effect on youths and I want to give back so I want to work with that"

I’ve always wanted to study Criminology ever since secondary school. I always wanted to do something to do with the police and society. I love being involved in the community. I like helping people a lot, I like people to feel comfortable and confident in what they’re doing and if they’re having problems I want to help them solve it. I saw Sociology at Essex but I didn’t know that Essex did Criminology. So when I came here, I think it was in the first week, I chose certain modules and changed to Sociology and Criminology.

It might sound like a cliché but I’ve always wanted to become a Police Officer but I knew I was very serious and I wanted to go via the academic route. So I did Sociology at A-level so it just kind of followed on. Becoming a Police Officer is still my goal, eventually I’d like to be a Detective. Growing up in London I would say the police didn’t really interact with the community. The community relations have a big effect on youths and I want to give back so I want to work with that. For example, a lot of kids in London don’t know the procedure surrounding stop and search, they don’t know what’s allowed and not allowed – I want to help educate these people from the other side.

I’ve got a job ready for when I graduate, I start in July. I’ll be a Prison Officer – it’s a graduate scheme, you do it for two years and they pay for your Masters as well. There were a lot of stages in applying. They put you in a cell with a prisoner, I was so scared, and they give you some background information on the prisoner and your task. So I had to go in and try to talk him down. So I was trying to convince him to go to his job in prison but he was refusing to go because he was convinced he would get stabbed. And he wouldn’t tell me who he thought would stab him because it’s snitching. They want to test you in that kind of situation. The whole process was very intense. When I found out that I got the job I laughed, I cried, I smiled, in fact I felt sorry for the lady on the phone!

I’m proud of everything I do. In first year I was a Course Rep – so they support students if there’s any problems, other students go to the Course Rep and then they go to lecturers etc. and try to solve the problem. So in first year I did that, and then then I saw the Faculty Convene online and one of my line managers suggested I go for it, so I applied and I got it. So I’m now the Faculty Convene for Social Sciences, so I represent every Social Sciences student in high level meetings. I’ve been doing that for a year now and I’m very proud of it.

In second year I was a bit too shy to ask questions, but now I just ask questions all the time. People are there to help you so just ask! And if I could go back I’d tell myself enjoy it more, I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as I should have. I was working a lot, I had a job in Tesco, so I was working a lot there and I think I just stressed too much, I should have taken that stuff easier so I could spend more time revising for my exams.

I’m approaching my exams now but I don’t feel too stressed, obviously I’m a bit anxious but I’m not too stressed. I started my revision early, I went to revision classes from the department which were really good and I’ve approached lecturers about things I don’t understand. The lecturers are always available if you need any help, they make themselves available, just send them an email and they’ll support you.

I actually came to Essex via clearing, I feel like when I first came to Essex I was a bit sceptical and not sure I wanted to be here. But honestly, the people at Essex make it home. It’s such a community, all the staff I’ve met have always been there to help. I’ve enjoyed my time at Essex a lot and I’ve made friends for life. I’ve met lecturers who I’ll always be in contact with too which is really nice. Essex has been good to me, I’ll be sad to leave.

My life motto actually isn’t mine, it’s my Dad’s; “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. He always says that to me. He’s always telling me that if I don’t plan then I’m planning to fail, I’m always telling him to say it in a nicer, more gentle way! It’s worked out though to be fair, I’ve got a job before I even do my exams!


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