Alumni profile with Lydia Burley

Lydia graduated with an MsC in Chemistry

Hello you,

It’s now 2022 and it’s been over 6 years (6!) since you began your journey at the University of Kent, and what a journey it was. So sit back, relax, grab a tea, and let me tell you about it.

It’s 2015, you’ve just turned up in the Lypeatt carpark and got your first glimpse of Parkwood Essentials where you’ll visit almost daily for those late-night snacks, last minute dinners and pre-drink supplies. You finish getting your keys from reception and head to your house, which will become home for the next 10 months. Yes it will be home, because you will live with people who will become like your family. Whilst moving your stuff in, you’ll meet your first housemate, and you don’t know this yet, but she’ll become your best friend and you’ll help each other through the worst times but experience the best times together too.

Unpacked. What next? It’s time for your Dad and Brother to go back home. Eek! Here we go.

You’ll nervously make your way downstairs, purposely waiting until everyone is already congregated in the kitchen and join the others. But deep breath and enjoy the first night of freshers. Over the course of the following weeks and months, you’ll become friends with most of the students in the houses around you and have some fantastic times with them all. But, that big friendship group doesn’t come without some drama – but you’re strong, so you’ll get through it and learn some valuable life lessons from it all.

You’ll start your lectures, loving it from day 1 and although meeting more new people is testing your introverted nature, you’ll excel and form a nice, yet unexpected, friendship group who will stick together until the end. A beautiful thing about university is that it will throw you together with people who you wouldn’t expect to be friends with for a million years and the ones you meet people will become your nearest and dearest, so don’t worry, you will definitely not be alone.

You won’t join any societies but that’s okay, you have a friendship group that you treasure, most of whom you’ll still see 6 years on, and you’ll never forget the evenings you spent together.

First year is a whirlwind; it’ll fly by and the days of Templeman looking like a giant, towering above you while you stand in its shadow will soon become a 2nd home for you and play a vital role in your success. Exams arrive before you know it and its time to show just how much you’ve learnt. Now 2nd year… 2nd year will by far be the best year of uni so look forward to that. It’ll be the year that so much happens; amazing memories, love, heartbreak, and so much laughter. This will no doubt be the hardest when it comes to study, because it’s the biggest ‘jump’, but you got this thanks to your amazing lecturers and mentors.

Finally, 3rd year comes, you know Ingram like that back of your hand and not the maze it first appeared to be. You’ll enjoy your 3rd year project so much; you’ll end up doing a Masters on it! Your supervisor is one of the cleverest people you’ll meet and learn a lot from him. The science community is very special. You’ll build this from the multiple conferences you get to attend thanks to your Masters degree. Who knew you’d be attending conferences!

Despite the 4 years you’re at university being nothing less than a rollercoaster, it’ll end with that same adrenaline feeling and be the best experience of your life. The growth you experience – both personal and academically, is immense and although you’re not down the path you thought for yourself, you’ll be exactly where you’re meant to be, with who you’re meant to be with.  Why? Because everything happens for a reason, and the people who say that is a cliché are missing out on believing something which brings so much bliss.

Finally, keep your head down, but don’t forget to have fun because it will be over in a blink of an eye, and remember, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do…

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