Meet the Ambassador: Simon Oyegoke

Stipend Student Ambassador, Simon Oyegoke, shares what he has learnt in lockdown and shares advice for making the most of the Ambassador Scheme

How long have you been an Ambassador for?
I’ve been a Stipend Ambassador since joining the University at the beginning of the academic year in 2018.

What do you study?
I’m a second year Forensics Science student

How did you hear about the ambassador program?
I first heard about the Ambassador Scheme way back when I was in sixth form. My sixth form had arranged for Kent students, more specifically student ambassadors to provide assistance on our UCAS-Wednesdays. Alongside helping me apply to university, we were briefed on what it meant to be a student ambassador and all that it entails.

Why did you want to become an ambassador?
I wanted to be a student ambassador because I wanted to take part in something extra-curricular alongside my studies. Additionally, the thought of being an ambassador was very appealing because it was an opportunity to share my experience, progressing into university and helping younger students replicate the same success.

What has been your favourite work opportunity?
As a stipend Ambassador, I’ve had the privilege of spending time in schools and promoting outreach. Specifically in schools like Canterbury Academy, speaking to younger kids in school has been nice and has given me the opportunity to look back on what being a younger student was like. In a way, things have come full circle, at a point in time I wasn’t sure that university was for me. I look forward to and would love to share my experience with other students and help in their transition into higher education or other alternative routes.

How has the first term of the new academic year been for you?
The first term being back at university has definitely been different from what I’m used to. But it was to be expected as we are currently still in a pandemic. I had to adjust how I would normally operate at university, but it has been doable, and it has had its perks. It’s a new format, with all my lectures being delivered online I’ve found that I’ve had a bit more free time on my hands and energy without the usual back and forth plus, I get to work from the comfort of home.

What have you gained from being an ambassador at the University of Kent?
Being an ambassador at Kent has really helped improve my confidence, typically I am someone that would keep to himself and avoid public speaking. But being an ambassador, I’ve been encouraged to push outside my comfort zone and challenge myself. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed events where I’ve spoken with students, so I’ve worked on my ability to speak in public and do so with confidence.

What advice do you have for other ambassadors that might be nervous to try new work opportunities they haven’t done before? 
Don’t be afraid to give new things a go – there are many opportunities afforded to us as ambassadors. So, I do recommend trying your hand at anything and everything you can. Every work opportunity is also a chance to meet other like-minded ambassadors and plus staff are really supportive of us as ambassadors in new roles. So, things do get easier over time.

What would you say has been your biggest obstacle since the pandemic started? 
I think my biggest hurdle during the start of the pandemic has been time itself, from the first lockdown essentially removing all things social. I’ve had a lot more time on my hands that I’m used to having. So, then you get to thinking, what do I do to pass the time. Eventually, I was able to figure out a schedule of ambassador work, reading books, working and working on my fitness.

It made me realise how much we depend on our normal daily schedules to fulfil us.

Is there anything the pandemic has taught you about yourself?
I have a kind of philosophy that, in all bad situations there is a positive to take away from it. Like I alluded to before, I had a lot of time on my hands, more than I’m used to. So, it gave me an opportunity look at things in a different light. I found that I dedicated too much time to all of my academic responsibilities and not so much to leisure activities or hobbies. Which of course wasn’t the healthiest thing. So overall, I had to learn to be kinder to myself.