We Are Essex

Julia's story

Photo of Julia Murphy

"My dog, Joey, is quite popular on campus; he's even been to a meeting with the Vice Chancellor!"

My dog, Joey, always makes me smile. First thing he does in the morning is to bring me a shoe or some other random thing, as a gift. He’s quite popular on campus; he’s even been to a meeting with Vice Chancellor! It started about three of four years ago with the Students’ Union, when I brought him in during exams, as a sort of de-stress. Ever since we brought him in, he’s been coming quite often and it seems that he’s always welcome, he’s even allowed in the SU Bar. It’s lovely to have him around here, he’s a model pooch.

 I always feel good when I finish writing a sermon. Recently, a colleague contacted me with a very short notice, asking if I could deliver a service for an ill person. I only had 45 minutes to go and let the service, but it went really well, and I felt a great sense of achievement.

 At Essex I do all sort of things, like breakfast bible study on Fridays, evening gatherings round at my house, film nights, and other social activities for students. It’s a part of the offer of the Chaplaincy, there is a big variety of things going on; there is catholic chaplain, orthodox chaplain, various others associated with different groups and different denominations. It’s a multi-faith facility and a very stimulating environment. It’s great to meet people from all over the world. I grew up in Singapore, so I’m used to multiculturalism. To be educated in this sort of environment is a very good grounding for the future.

I’m an alumna of Essex University, so it’s very interesting for me to be back here. Of course, Essex was a big part of my life. I studied English and European Literature in the School of Comparative Studies and graduated in ’81. It was a completely different place then. I have to say it has vastly improved and I love it: the buzz around, positive environment, lots of different stuff going on, and improving facilities. It’s more and more colourful, vibrant and inclusive. I think it’s very valuable what SU has been doing to make students feel that they are a part of the community and make sure that nobody is left out. Many things are different, but the biggest change I noticed at Essex is that the university back then used to be extremely politicised and I found it as a pressure on me as a student. Now people can have different views and not be necessarily criticised for it. It’s freer. Some people would say that that’s a loss, but it was sort of a harsher age then.


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