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“When I was applying for university, I didn’t know where I wanted to go; just that I wanted to go somewhere in England. I choose the University of Chester because of the feedback I got from family friends about the destination and how beautiful it was to live in. I thought Chester was perfect, because it was a well-known tourist attraction, which is very relevant to my course. I also like Chester because it is a city, but it’s a small city, so it’s really easy to move around between campuses.

“My first year was really pretty daunting because I was in a completely new city and didn’t know anyone. But I got there in the end! The lecturers on my course were amazing in ensuring I was settling in well and not feeling lonely. Like any student moving away from home for the first time, it can be scary, but without them I wouldn’t have got through it. The lecturers were also extremely helpful in helping me adjust to assignments and exams, which I found extremely helpful. Going from a BTEC Level 3 to Level 4 was a big jump, but it was a good jump!

Lauren Flemming.jpg

Lauren on Chester's Queen's Park Bridge
Lauren on Chester's Queen's Park Bridge

“My second year was very exciting. I moved in with new housemates who I knew from first year. They made my university experience unforgettable. I was grateful to pass my first year with a good grade. Throughout my second year, my lecturers were very supportive in helping me decide what I wanted to achieve that year and what to do for my five week Work Based Learning placement. I went to my personal academic tutor (PAT) to discuss potential ideas to keep me sane throughout the year, who recommended I go and speak to another lecturer about Marketing Cheshire. I was lucky enough to get a seven week internship, working in digital marketing and sales.  The company gave me experience in working for a Destination Marketing Organisation. As they say, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

“There were many other opportunities during that year. One of the opportunities I applied for was Royal Caribbean. Unfortunately, I didn’t get my placement here, but I was grateful for the experience on how to act in a professional interview, which I didn’t know about. For my five week placement, I decided to do my placement back in Northern Ireland. I did my placement in Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council as a Visitor Information Advisor, while working on social media and events. I enjoyed every minute on this placement. From this placement, I was lucky enough to be able to apply for a casual position that would work around my university degree, which I was successful in getting!  If it wasn’t for university and the opportunity with Royal Caribbean, I wouldn’t have had that vital interview experience to help me nail my job interview.

“Finally, my third year of university! Lecturers always say that first year will go slow, second year will be fast and final year will go in a flash. I have to say, they weren’t joking about that. My final year was stressful, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! It’s a perfect opportunity to master your time management and organisational skills. This year is when I started to think about my future and what I wanted to achieve after university. I decided that I was going to go back to Northern Ireland and take year out (like a gap year but after university). I’ve decided to continue working in my casual job from placement and work in the hospitality industry and retail to gain more experience in dealing with customers and employees. For the future… you never know what could happen. However, I am hoping to apply for a job in Visit Belfast or Tourism Northern Ireland. The main goal for 2020 is to get my first home with my sister and explore more places in Europe.

“If anyone is thinking about going to university… I think you should do it! It’s a perfect way to get your own independence. If it wasn’t for university, I would still be living at home working in a job that I disliked and not getting anywhere in the tourism industry. Or I would be going for a new qualification in something that didn’t interest me!  As I progressed through the degree I got more and more choice about which modules I could take, so I could focus on my interest in events work within the tourism industry.  There’s lots to choose from, so you won’t be stuck for choice.”

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