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I became a course representative for physics; representing my colleagues to staff and liaising with them to invoke change within the programme.
Elliott Halford

Why did you take part in The Chester Difference Award?

Why wouldn’t I take part in the Chester Difference Award; it not only represents the extra-curricular activities I took part in but also shows my drive towards my future ambitions, it provides a physical award that portrays those roles I took on while at Chester. I also did this because it meant I can show future employers the effort and resources I put into building my professional profile which to them will be very attractive and important.

To explain in a few words, I would say it is invaluable to anyone thinking about attending extra-curricular activities at Chester, just approach the careers team and they can get you started.

What activities did you engage with as a participant of The Chester Difference Award?

This story began with me joining Chester in 2018; knowing that I wanted to get involved in extra-curricular activities I began searching for opportunities, the first was a student ambassador helping with open-days and events. The reason I bring this up is because it started me on the path of the CDA without me even knowing.

Fast forward a year and I became a course representative for physics; representing my colleagues to staff and liaising with them to invoke change within the programme, alongside this I also became a course ambassador, this involved helping out at course and open days, here I would help prospective physics students get a student-oriented opinion on the course and University. Finally, I became a digital ambassador creating online content for students, be it blogs, vlogs, videos for TikTok; this also meant I would find myself on the UniBuddy platform, talking to prospective students and signposting them to the relevant support they required.

What skills did you gain as a result of taking part in The Chester Difference Award?

I not only became more confident around the University but felt I was building connections within the University; contacting various individuals via email; and meeting them in person, this will build networks and relationships you can utilize later in life. While being an ambassador I made plenty of friends that are still around today so if you don’t value the skills, you will at least make a few pals while at the University of Chester.

Being a course representative meant I was leading my cohort; developing my team skills and interpersonal skills with likeminded individuals which will put me in excellent stead in the future. My digital skills while being a digital ambassador were also improved as I managed to familiarise myself with various social media platforms and managed to portray myself in a professional manner digitally.

Finally, I was able to voice my physics knowledge to the prospective physics students a course ambassador; this I feel is one of the more important types of skills I developed as this not only impacted me but gave the prospective physics students a better grasp of the excellent Physics course ran at the University of Chester.

What advice would you give to other students thinking of completing The Chester Difference Award?

My primary piece of advice to students interested in the CDA is to breach your comfort zone, if you think you won’t be able to do something, if you feel it’s not quite something you think you’re ready for, I would say that is the things you should be going for as these are the activities that will broaden your horizons and strengthen the professional skills you have not yet obtained; really push the boat out and challenge yourself. To add to this, you can contact your PAT or careers team for some guidance on this; they will be valuable resources to utilise at this point so try and challenge yourself.

My final tip is to make sure you don’t take on too much as you are also a student, you are working towards a degree so try and find a balance of extra-curricular and degree level experience. In all you will be working towards one of the most valuable award you are to obtain in your studies so if you can flesh that out further you will be more employable, you will have a broader toolkit at your disposal; more importantly you will have an experience you will never forget, your time at the University of Chester.