We Are Essex

Shannice's story

Shannice swishing her silver braids around.

"I can actually pinpoint a specific time which made me change my direction in life."

I’m such an airy-fairy person, that’s just my character – yet I’m also a really deep thinker. I’ve always been interested in philosophy, even outside of academia so I thought, why not study it? I knew I wanted to study something I would enjoy so it doesn’t feel like a chore or that I have to do it. 

I practise Buddhism as well and have done for four years now. I can actually pinpoint a specific time which made me change my direction in life. In high school there was a guy sat in my seat on the school bus, and I knocked his Food Tech stuff off the seat so I could sit down. I realised that wasn’t a nice thing to do and that I didn’t want to be that person. I didn’t want to live my life doing things for no reason or that negatively affect other people. I wanted positivity around me, and to be a nice person. I’d always been interested in Buddhism and the philosophy of it, so I started practising it. 

Looking back I can see how it’s changed my life. Everything I do, I do it because it’s going to positively influence me or someone else. I’m a completely different person to what I was in high school. That one thing that I did has literally moulded my life.

Despite changing my outlook on life, before I started uni I had an existential crisis. I thought to myself: I don’t know what I want to do; I don’t know who I am; I don’t know what I’m interested in, or whether I’m only interested because that’s what society has told me to be interested in. And that was a really big thing. I eventually found myself and I realised who I am and that I like to read books and go out with people – but not too much!

I’ve never met anyone else that practises Buddhism, but me and my best friend at uni are literally the same person!  The same things annoy us and the same things interest us. She studies Law and Politics, and I study Philosophy so they couldn’t be any further from each other. But at the same time, what I bring to her life and what she brings to mine is really helpful and inspiring. 

The thing that was the deciding factor for me coming to uni here was the module Death, God and the Meaning of Life. I saw it and I knew that I had to come here. And also Campus Cat! I love cats and he’s like the mascot for the uni. It took my nine months to actually see him on campus, but then I saw him and gave him a stroke – it made my day!


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