Owen O'Donnell originally visited the University of Surrey on an open day to accompany a friend. He was so taken with the friendliness of those he met, he decided to apply himself. Here's his story.
When did you decide to come to Surrey?
I originally decided to make Surrey my first choice university upon visiting campus with a friend who was also considering attending the University to study Physics. Despite only visiting the department relevant to his own studies, I found the students and staff to be impassioned and engaging, and the facilities on offer greatly impressed me. After a second visit for my own benefit in the Department of Sociology, I thought the staff and student body I met that day to be just as inspired and approachable as their colleagues in Physics and that is when I made my decision.
"The facilities and student support were a big selling point as well, the way that the students’ needs were really catered for impressed me a lot"
Why did you choose to come to Surrey?
The people I met on campus when I visited are who originally sold me on joining the University, I felt comfortable despite the location of the campus being in another county from my home, and one that I’d never even had the opportunity to really visit before. The facilities and student support were a big selling point as well, the way that the students’ needs were really catered for impressed me a lot.
Why did you choose to study your course at Surrey?
Due to unforeseen circumstances involving my original choice of subject at the university, I had a limited window to choose my current degree. Despite not perhaps researching the course as meticulously as some of my peers may have been able to, I felt confident in my decision. The ability to study both bleeding-edge technologies and their seamless integrations into digital societies, whilst simultaneously gaining an enhanced education into the machinations of human communications was an opportunity I knew I wanted to throw myself into right away.
What do you like about your course and why?
I love the ability to speak plainly and openly about societal issues. In any number of my modules over the last three years, there has always been space to apply our current teachings to the world around us. I felt as though I were gaining a richer understanding of society along with the specifics of Media and Communication.
What are the academic staff and facilities like on your course?
The staff have been as wonderful as I could have hoped for, each of them has been beyond supportive of any personal and academic goals that I have shared with them. More than that, each has proven to be a warm and approachable person with whom any issues with their modules or wider concerns could be raised without worry. The facilities and learning spaces were always varied and offered a good mixture of lectures, seminars, and computer-lab work.
What are the best things about life in general at Surrey?
Being close to London is a big selling point for the location of campus, it really helps with the commute home from university during my down time, and is always convenient for day trips to the city. The social life in Guildford is also a major plus for studying at the University, given the plethora of cafes and restaurants in and around the vicinity of campus, and the night life benefits from a number of bars and night clubs to visit with friends in town which aren’t too far away either.
"The University also makes provisions for those who require greater degrees of attention regarding mental health which I have always found to be a wonderful utility"
Do you feel supported at university?
With regards to any issues I’ve encountered regarding my wellbeing (either mental of physical), I have found the university to be more than accommodating. Especially with regards to my personal tutors, I have felt comfortable confiding in them when I am feeling less than myself which is a really uplifting feeling. The University also makes provisions for those who require greater degrees of attention regarding mental health which I have always found to be a wonderful utility.
Do you think you’ve changed since you started at Surrey? How?
I’ve certainly grown into a new person since arriving at Surrey. I think this has been a universal experience for all the people I’ve had the fortune of sharing this journey with. Perhaps for some it was simply a case of coming out of our shells, but I have also found that I’ve gained a stronger grasp on who I am as a person, and my confidence has flourished as a result of the newly gained independence of living away from home and being (mostly) self-sufficient. Being around such a varied community as the University of Surrey has also allowed me to gain a wider appreciation for other cultures and has particularly fostered my love of cooking.
"In my time as a student here, I’ve grown into a person I am proud to be, and that is in no small part thanks to the staff and my fellow students, all of whom have had a profound impact on my experience and time here at Surrey"
Finally, do you have any other comments you’d like to offer about your time at Surrey?
My time at Surrey has been nothing less than a journey of self-discovery. There have been hardships, and there have been moments of intense joy. Neither would have been possible without the amazing people I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had since being here. In my time as a student here, I’ve grown into a person I am proud to be, and that is in no small part thanks to the staff and my fellow students, all of whom have had a profound impact on my experience and time here at Surrey. I am eternally grateful and would not change a thing.