Sonia Hendy-Isaac

Sonia Hendy-Isaac

How many times have you heard this whilst debating your decision to go to university? It’s something of a cliché surely, but I can say that it’s one of those truths that sit within the cliché for a number of reasons.

Firstly, university isn’t just about knowledge – knowledge is everywhere – and most of it is free – so what exactly does university enable us to do? Well, put simply, it encourages us to emerge ourselves in subjects we love, to become an expert in an area or field, to learn new things and crucially, to learn how we learn best; at its most incredible, this learning is simply knowledge exchange – it’s knowledge applied – contextualised, ‘real world’, evident through practice.

Secondly, learning is social – it may be that we ‘study’ in a solitary way, but the best university experiences allow us to develop our ability to explore knowledge, develop our information literacy, construct argument, create debate, revise, review and renew our understanding – this ability to critically engage with our peers (and lecturers) is an essential life skill; yes, you may be able to learn these skills elsewhere, but there are few places safer to hone these. This is the space in which we learn most about ourselves too; this is where you establish (and exercise) your core values, your aspirations, your strengths – the student experience encourages you to identify these, make sense of them and articulate them in a way that lets people know who you are, what you know, what you stand for and why that’s important.

Finally, it’s more than the sum of its parts; yes, you will learn how to negotiate knowledge and  communicate understanding; yes, you learn how to work to deadlines; yes, you will make friends that last a long time; yes, you will end up with a degree that signifies that you are academically credible, but more than this, you will be ready for the future, armed with the skills, attributes, attitudes and abilities that will facilitate your success, and you’ll know exactly how to articulate them, whether that’s to secure your first graduate job or get finance for your own business. You will, of course, continue learning for life, simply because it’s not just a degree – it’s an experience that will inform every other experience throughout your life.

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Sonia Hendy-Isaac

Sonia Hendy-Isaac

Senior Lecturer, Curriculum Design for Employer Engagement