Beth Randell is a first-year Sociology student and a Futures Scholarship recipient. Here, she tells us how her scholarship is opening up career opportunities and supporting her to succeed.
When I was in sixth form, I was a member of my school’s debate team because I love reflecting on social issues analytically. I also used to write articles on social issues including one which was a runner up in the Guardian’s The Young Hugo Award called “The Impossibility of the Working Mum.” I chose to study sociology because it lends a critical eye to society and allows me the freedom to pursue a wide scope of professions upon graduation including writing, editing, and publishing.
I am particularly interested in publishing because writing is my main strength. It is a competitive sector and there is a lot of pressure to make yourself stand out by doing internships, making connections and networking. In addition, many of these internships are in London, where living and commuting is much more expensive. Without the Futures Scholarship these opportunities would be unattainable for me.
Before I was awarded the Futures Scholarship, I had underlying anxieties about coming to university. I wanted to undertake internships to develop my understanding of different industries and stand out among other degree holders. But, due to financial pressures, I thought I would have to work in retail during the University holidays. Living away from home and studying is expensive, so it is such a relief to have this financial contribution.
When I learned I had been awarded the Futures scholarship, I was overjoyed because I felt truly supported. The fears I had around not being able to do internships and work experience dissolved, and I could breathe again. I thought “Okay, I can figure this out because I can now do what I need to do to succeed.”
We are told that what you put into university is what you get out of it. But, for a lot of students that is not true because finances can be a barrier to success. No matter how much you put into your studies, if you cannot afford to do certain things like go on internships and work placements, many doors are closed to you these days. The Futures Scholarship will open those doors for me, provide opportunities where they might not have been any, and help me get the most out of university by taking away financial obstacles.
In addition to financial support, I highly value the connections I’ve made through the Futures Scholarship. I was able to meet the other scholars through Zoom sessions and I regularly receive emails and advice about different career paths. As a first-year student, who is adjusting to university life, this provides extra grounding for me.
I would like to say a big thank you to the donors who fund this programme. For me, and I am sure for many others who have a scholarship like me, it is no small thing to have such a significant financial contribution and a support system behind me while I go through university.
If you would like to make a donation in support of student scholarships please head to our website.