I’m a final year Media, Communication and Cultural Studies student with a flair for writing and passion for exploring the world. I might not be too old, in fact, I have yet to embark on so many life journeys, yet I know for a fact that there is one journey I will always hold dear to my heart.
Let’s start from the very beginning. I was a final year in high school back in my home country, very uncertain as to where my next step would take me and which career path I should choose. I have always been passionate about media, having grown up in a family of journalists, and my flair for writing and passion for public relations lead me to my dream career path.
Having decided what I wanted to study, I knew that I wanted to broaden my horizons and challenge myself to go beyond my comfort zone, as well as my home country. My ambition and thirst for travelling helped me choose my next destination, the United Kingdom!
Well renowned for its supreme level of education and for its international mix of cultures, the country seemed like an ideal place to spend my next 3 years exploring different cultures and studying something which I was truly passionate about. Choosing the right university and city to best fit my aspirations is probably the most important choice I’ve had to make, and I am proud of my decision.
I believe in ‘gut feeling’ and following your intuition, and my intuition whispered that Newcastle University was somehow the best university choice for my future. Yet to this day, I cannot tell you a specific factual reason as to why I chose it. I never attended any Open Days, nor have I ever before visited the United Kingdom – I just felt this strange emotional connection with the University, I bonded with it spiritually!
I was accepted into all 5 of my university choices. However, even before I applied I was pretty certain, I remember telling my mom, “That is the one, I want Newcastle University.”.
I probably fell in love with the University ever since I laid my eyes on their Facebook page, from the mesmerising pictures of sunsets over the city to student manifestos and updates about their research progress, I just felt like I belonged to this institution and that Newcastle is where academic magic happens. It seemed like a modern version of my own Hogwarts!
Newcastle was my first choice, but ironically I received their offer last. I remember jumping up and down out of joy and counting my last days until I was able to immerse myself in the exquisite culture of such a vibrant city. And, most importantly, the Freshers’ experience.
I remember the day I arrived in Newcastle. I was alone, did not know anyone at all and felt very nervous about making new contacts. It was a really pleasant surprise to be welcomed at the airport by a team of Newcastle University students, who made me feel at home and assured me that Newcastle was a lovely place.
During the bus ride to my halls (Castle Leazes), I remember watching the raindrops fall through the window as the breath-taking view of the Quayside began to unveil before my eyes. This is my most distinctive memory of Newcastle, that rainy day when Newcastle’s riverside welcomed me home and I, in return, welcomed it in my heart.
Fast-forward the first few days where I was alone in my accommodation and barely knew anyone, I soon enough had a taste of the best week of any student’s life, Freshers’ Week! An opportunity of a lifetime, Freshers’ Week is the time when I made lifelong friends, danced like no one was watching and began to explore different cultures.
My flat in Castle Leazes was as international as it gets and I had the opportunity to socialise with girls from India, China, Poland and even Nigeria. To this day I am proud that I taught my Indian flatmate how to make a traditional Bulgarian soup, while she also enriched my cultural knowledge of Indian cuisine by taking her time to demonstrate to me some of the finest Indian dishes she knew.
Freshers’ Week is when I met my current best friend, while registering for a GP on campus, it’s bitter-sweet to remember our long days of exploring the city by foot, discovering Grainger Market and local farmers shops. My heart fills with nostalgia remembering our first trip to the seaside, eating candy cotton while sunbathing on campus or going to my first ever society social.
My course was also beyond captivating, so thought-provoking! My lecture days consisted of learning how to use professional 4K cameras, interviewing people on Northumberland Street, designing advertising campaigns for Dior, video editing and analysing Calvin Klein’s marketing strategy.
At times my journey in Newcastle was challenging, some days I was missing home and craving Bulgarian food, other times I spent way too many nights in the Robinson library, doubting my ability to finish assignments on time. Yet, it was never dull and somewhere towards the end of the first year I almost felt like Robinson was my second home (even more now I am in my final year!).
From eating in the cafeteria to discussing politics in the smoking area, I met so many interesting people during my first year, who undoubtedly left a mark on my student experience and helped me to broaden my horizons and make a new circle of lifelong friends.
Looking back at my first two years in Newcastle, my heart fills with warmth and happiness and I am delighted to say that I have grown and flourished.
This unique experience helped me conquer my fears of adapting to new social settings, taught me how to learn from my mistakes (both academic and personal!) and made me more independent. Finally, and most importantly, I was able to demonstrate to myself and to anyone who’s ever doubted me that I am good enough.
I was good enough to participate in ‘The Newcastle Apprentice competition’ and make it to the finals. I was strong enough to battle my homesickness, the times I was lonely and those days when I felt like nothing was ever going to be okay.
And here I am, in my final year, 100% positive that there is nothing I would change about my journey. Because every little mistake or hardship during my University experience has lead me to discover my real authentic self, and taught me how to cherish the things I have now and how to seize the moment.
Final year might be stressful, but it is also my favourite year, for it is the year I have been able to let go of unnecessary memories and emotions from the past which were holding me back (my Newcastle journey helped me do that!).
It is the year when I fell in love, when I started my own independent research on a topic I was truly passionate about, it is the time when I became a freelance writer, started developing my ideas for an app and the year when I learned how to finally make pancakes – yay for that!
So, I guess this is where I end this long, raw and heartfelt revelation. And I only have one question in mind for you – what is your Newcastle University journey going to be like?