We Are Essex

Gabija's story

Gabija Dalekaite headshot

"I would really love to do some work with NATO, especially now NATO is very focused on Eastern Europe and Lithuania. I would like to be a part of that."

I did my undergraduate here and I’m continuing doing my postgraduate here; MSc Conflict Resolution. The first thing that brought me to Essex was wanting to try something different to my country, Lithuania. Also, Essex offers one of the best Government departments in the UK. I read somewhere one of the lecturer’s pieces of work, their research, and I really wanted to learn from and meet them. They’re such brilliant people, really influential people when it comes to politics. Also, at the time Essex had a big Lithuanian Society so it looked very inclusive and international orientated. It looked like a very fun place to study and live.

I feel like the University of Essex was a very big part in shaping who I am; shaping my confidence, shaping my interests. Not just in politics in general, but in life too. I have been involved with so many activities here. I think Essex gives you the opportunity to be who you want to be, and who you are. It gives you a chance to try yourself and do different things.

I’m proud of my study. I actually had an impressive experience with Essex County Council and the University of Essex. We worked together on my final dissertation paper, with one of my best friends. There’s a group of us, we did a project on social care in Essex. We really enjoyed it; it was the perfect experience of using academic knowledge and applying it in real life politics. Another thing is that I used the opportunity to go on a year abroad. I went to one of the greatest business schools in the world in Madrid; I really enjoyed my time as well. At the moment I am very proud of working for the SU. I’m a Postgraduate Students’ Community Organiser – I’m a face for postgraduates, I organise events for postgraduates and organise the agenda for the

My biggest inspirations are my family and friends. I know it’s probably not a super interesting answer but I feel like my friends, especially the people I have worked with and the people I call best friends, they are doing so well. They’ve achieved so much and they keep encouraging me and we keep encouraging each other to keep on going and seek our dreams. As for my family, my family have always been supportive of me; they always allow me to follow my dreams.

One of the saddest times in my life was my gap year, trying to decide what I wanted to do next. I didn’t get lots of success, I thought it would be easier but it wasn’t. It was one of the first times I tasted real life experience. I got rejected from a lot of interviews so I was losing confidence in myself so I decided I wanted to do; what I like which is when I chose to come back to Essex. I studied, I got more practise in data analysis with my Masters of Science – that’s what I selected. I’m the only one at the moment finishing with this degree, Masters of Science, there are others with Masters of Arts but nobody else took the next step to getting Science. I wanted the harder, quantitative side of it - that gave me some more confidence to restart.

I think my decision to study Conflict Resolution comes from my interests in security, negotiations and mediations. I started doing International Relations, that was my Bachelors, but I really liked security studies and security related stuff the most. Topics such as violence, how to stop insurgences, terrorism and stuff like that – it’s very current. This course was one of the newest courses in the university and not many universities offer this course, especially in the UK. I feel like I found this completely new area where we’re going to need specialists soon and loads of international organisations do look for people who are trained and knowledgeable in this area. When I graduate I would really like to work with international organisations generally trying to make the world a bit more peaceful and solve some of the conflicts. I would really love to do some work with NATO, especially now NATO is very focused on Eastern Europe and Lithuania. I would like to be a part of that.

If I could go back and give myself some advice it would probably be ‘don’t stress too much’. Everything is going to work out, everything happens with time. Just keep thinking positive and do what makes you happy. Just keep on trying and never give up. My motto is ‘fall 9 times, stand up 10 times’. I have a lot of fight in myself, I never give up. Even if I have some down days or weeks, I always find it in myself to keep on going and keep on fighting.


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