Visitor Attraction and Resort Managment student, Lewis, describes his experience of studying the unique course at Staffordshire University
I’m Lew – or Lewis for long.
I’ll be honest, I’ve absolutely no clue how I’ll cram one of the most amazing and craziest experiences of my life into 500(ish) words, but I’ll give it a try!
Studying Visitor Attraction and Resort Management (VARM) was a total life-changing experience for me. I’d always subconsciously known that I’d work in theme parks somewhere down the line, but it’d never occurred to me until I was around 15 just how much was out there in terms of careers. They’ve always been really amazing places for me especially growing up. They bring out a real carefree happiness in everyone and that’s resonated with me for as long as I can remember.
Before university I was incredibly lacking in confidence in a whole host of ways, and I don’t mind sharing the fact that I was going through a very negative period of my life (don’t worry I’m not going to bore you with a sob story!) I really found my calling in the build up to uni and during it, and it’s been great to finally find exactly what it is I want to do in the long run, massively build my confidence and meet some fantastic people in the process.
Making lifelong friends at University was never an expectation for me, but the close nit nature of things made it so easy for all of us to get along and grow through things together – and without sounding like a walking-talking cliché, It’s really like one huge (crazy) family. I’ve been lucky enough to study and work alongside some absolutely amazing, passionate and genuine people and couldn’t be prouder to say I’ve been able to do that with them.
For me – Support in education is key. I’ve had times along the road where it felt as if teachers don’t care or don’t want to understand their students, but that couldn’t be further from the case with VARM. The ‘family’ feel of the course absolutely extends out to the lecturers who have never once stopped trying to push me and everyone else to get where they want to be.
Because of this course I’ve had some insane opportunities I never could’ve imagined, from being a Christmas Elf, spending Halloween in a spooky alien filled sewer, helping with website redesigns, conducting talks to school groups, managing social media, and even working with someone I really admire on an anniversary for my favourite rollercoaster– It’s been everything I wanted it to be and more.
Here are my few pieces of advice and bits I’ve learnt along the way :
– Showing you care goes a long way. Enthusiasm is never bad as long as you’ve got good intentions and truly want to do the right thing.
– Make friends, don’t ‘network’. Genuine connections are the best connections.
– Forcing yourself into uncomfortable situations is usually the best way to boost your confidence.
– Whatever it is, just do it. Stopping and thinking before doing something is great, but don’t let overthinking and worrying about what people might think get in the way of making yourself happy.
Thanks for reading my little bit.
Realistically no amount of words can sum up the feelings, experiences and funny stories I’ve got from this course, but hopefully I’ve done it some justice. I really can’t imagine my life without it.
(How are you supposed to end these sort of things?)