I am Becky, I’m currently doing a master’s degree in Airport Planning and Management at Cranfield University, near Milton Keynes. Before that, I studied Air Transport and Logistics Management for my bachelors in Huddersfield (including six months studying abroad in the Netherlands). Before I found my calling in the aviation industry, I attempted to get a chemistry degree from Bristol University, but dropped out after 18 months.

“I was the first student they had that used a wheelchair, so I had to tell the university what adjustments I needed in order to allow me to fully engage with the course.”

Cranfield (my current university) is a unique university – it only offers postgraduate courses and it’s super international – on my course I am the only British person. One of the best things about my university experience is that I now have friends from every single continent, mixing with such a wide and diverse group of people has shaped me into the person I am today.

Living on campus was a big learning curve for both me and the university – I was the first student they had that used a wheelchair so I had to tell the university what adjustments I needed in order to allow me to fully engage with the course.

While this process was hard and frustrating at times, this experience forced me to advocate for myself in a way that I hadn’t done before and aside from all the educational and social benefits to university, the sense of empowerment and accomplishment that I feel knowing I have helped open the university‘s eyes to the needs of a whole new potential group of students is something that I think will stay with me forever.

“I met a whole new group of people at university. I found my tribe and was able to surround myself with the people who accepted and liked me for who I am”.

 

My self-confidence is now something else, without doubt my university experiences has helped me to grow. I never felt like I truly fit in at school but when I met a whole new group of people at university, I found my tribe and was able to surround myself with the people who accepted and liked me for who I am.

I realise I keep returning to the human side of university, and while it’s true that what you learn can be interesting and it’s definitely worth working hard, it really is the people that I found the most important part of my university experience.

The non-academics universities offer is another part of the experience I would be remiss to omit. In the past I’ve joined such a wide range of societies, from big band to rugby to pottery – I don’t know any other environment where you could try all of these things and just have the freedom to find your interests without any pressure.

University is something I have experienced  in two different countries, for a bachelors and a master’s degree, as an able bodied person and as a wheelchair user and whilst my experiences have been varied and different in so many ways, without going to university I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Nothing can quite compare to the joys of meeting new people, the stresses of finishing an assignment minutes before the deadline and the seemingly endless summers of freedom.

To sum up my university experience: if I did not enjoy it so much, I wouldn’t have signed up for my master’s degree. I already know I am going to miss my student days when I eventually enter the world of work!

University is not always easy, but it is absolutely worth it – the academic, social, and personal growth you get from it can’t be found anywhere else.

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