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Lifelong Learning Centre

My first conference

Posted on Monday, 14 September 2015 at 3pm
by Lifelong Learning Centre Staff.
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The following blog is a guest post by Crystal Reece, who is studying for a BA in Professional Studies with the Lifelong Learning Centre.

I attended the #RAISE15 conference for innovation on the 10th of September in Nottingham alongside Paul and Olivia. I felt really privileged to be able to join in and share my experiences and journey. The conference itself was about Researching, Advancing and Inspiring Student Engagement. Being a part of the conference made me feel like I was accomplishing something by being at university, and sharing those moments with other universities and students was an amazing experience.

I created a metaphor whilst I was there:

I was trapped inside a box with bunched-up chains and a padlock. Listening to the Learning Champions from previous years made my chains slowly start to unravel. Coming to university gave me the key to open the lock but finishing my first year and getting a taste of what I am capable of has broken open the box and allowed me complete freedom in my life. I can learn anything, I will do anything and my future possibilities are endless.

It was interesting to listen to the group after us discuss their involvement with students and the innovative ideas of using students’ work once assignments had been finished with. I was shocked when people were stunned that mature students would take part in activities with little to no notice. I am personally friends with many mature students who would love to and do share their experiences to help other people and I was curious as to why other universities had such fears that no-one would step up and take part.

The feeling that you get when you see peoples’ reactions to where you come from and how you have gotten to where you are is incredible and it makes being a Learning Champion a self-inspiring role as it does for others who hear us speak. I myself ticked three things off my to-do life list:

  1. I went to Nottingham for the first time
  2. I went to my first of what I hope to be many conferences
  3. I went on my first tram ride

These things might not mean much to the average person, but to me these experiences are what make me happy, my curiosity about what I can accomplish is growing and I hope other universities start to help other mature students like myself to realise their potential. We all have a box, some with chains and a lock, some without, but with or without struggle everyone should be entitled to possibilities; possibilities are endless.

Categories: Achievements, Conferences, Student Voices, Widening Participation