A letter to my first-year self: Katie

Liverpool Student

Katie is a Class of 2023 BA Marketing graduate. Here, she looks back at her time at the University of Liverpool and thinks about what she would tell her first-year self.

Dear first-year me,

Wow, where do I start.

The next few years will be the most rewarding, shaping and inspiring years of your life, in ways you will never expect. I know the thought of starting university was something you never thought was possible. Starting a marketing apprenticeship in a huge company having just turned 17, wow you were so small, a little lost in the big world of business.

Leaving your apprenticeship having seen the marketing world first hand, it was the best decision to ever make, in wanting to take a few more steps before jumping into working life again. I am so happy that you decided to not let anything or anyone get in your way, and make the jump to apply to your dream university. Gate-crashing my brothers open day visit to Liverpool, (sorry Adam) my first ever visit to the Management School left me inspired and motivated to give my application a shot. It seems like a complete blur now, through my application being accepted, and joining the university, but the dedication and resilience during that time will stay with me forever.

As someone who joined university with no a-levels, but instead a couple of years of work experience, the jump was certainly a shock. But wow, my first-year self overcame so much! I remember the determination to make the most of university in every way possible.

During my time in Liverpool, I am emotional and proud to say I didn’t let anything stop me or hold me back. The motivation, enthusiasm and can-do attitude makes me burst with pride. In these years, I went on to complete an entire ten-thousand-word dissertation – and I remember the doubts, the questioning, am I capable? But guess what, I was! At university, I was part of the marketing society committee, becoming a course rep for 3 years and chaired meetings with senior management in this time. Funny, considering the pure fear I used to feel in presentations not long ago in my apprenticeship. I presented about my time at university in open days, events, and even to students on placement year – the confidence gained from this is outstanding!

I also joined the Careers and Employability team as a Career Coach, which will be the most rewarding experience of my entire time at university. The opportunity to help others in the same way people have helped me is life changing.

To my first-year self, you will learn, grow, and more so, develop incredible pride of yourself, with the ‘I-can’ attitude which you didn’t quite have before university. Oh, and also featured in a textbook! Eeek! I wrote in a published textbook, all about the experience studying during covid, and about how staff in the university should utilise the knowledge of students in decision making. That’s another thing, never in my life would I expect an actual global pandemic to occur in the middle of my degree. But, something else I overcame, and made it through!

It is genuinely emotional writing this letter and reflecting on the last 4 years. I am bursting with pride thinking about my past self. I will never forget her, small first year me, as without the hurdles I have overcome, the fear and uncertainty I have battled through, I wouldn’t be sat here in the Career Studio, my workplace, writing this letter, about to graduate from my dream university. It means everything to me. I didn’t even think I could make it to university without a-levels, let alone from the University of Liverpool, but I found new paths, new ways to achieve, and I did. My family always told me I can do it, I believe it is with their support that I am writing this letter about to graduate today.

So, to my first-year self, enjoy, appreciate and make the most of every second of your time at university – trust me, it will change your life, and you are capable of amazing things! Don’t let anything hold you back, say yes to opportunities that come your way, and, be unapologetically yourself.

Love from, Katie  ❤️