Hello! My name is Drew… or Andy, or Andrew (and in the future hopefully Dr. Keating), and I have something to say!
Of course university is a place where you learn. You’re there for 3-4 years, and sometimes more, to learn about any given field you have chosen to understand and be knowledgeable in. But there is also something else you gain out of it, that isn’t taught in the classrooms or lecture halls. Finding who you are.
Yes, I know. It all sounds very hippy. But honestly, if you were to compare the me before university, and the me nearing the end of my 3 year course, the difference is astonishing. I mean seriously, here is a picture of me from the first time I ever went out in makeup, on the final night of 1st year, and a picture of me from a few days ago:
While I would probably agree that that is most likely just the passage of time and learning new skills, I believe that if I had not gone to university, I would never have explored the world of makeup. Being in a place where you can meet like minded people, and be accepted for who you are, is a luxury in this world that I would not have experienced otherwise. Especially as a queer person, in a world where people are taught to be a certain a way, and anything deviating their prescribed gender norms is frowned upon.
More to the point I have become more confident in myself and my abilities. Not only in the way I present myself to the world, but also in my relationships with others. By being put in a space that brings together people from all walks of life, including people of different faiths and cultures, mature students and parents who are trying to improve themselves for their kids, international students, and people from the LGBTQIA+ community, allows you to learn so much from others’ experiences. You get a better sense of what the world is like, and how people can be so different, but also so similar.
As many people have told me, your late teens and early 20’s is all about gaining a sense of who you are and what you like, and I would definitely say that I am much closer to that now compared to a few years ago. Thanks to Staffs for giving me the space to do so!
Check out the LGBT+ Network at Staffs for student support and inclusive socials