Tom Coleman: Semester 2

The Christmas holidays brought the first breath of academic freedom in three months. The last few weeks of term was strenuous as the deadlines flooded in, but hard work paid off and I’ve had my best set of coursework grades for one semester since starting university.

The break was overly deserved. I started my holidays off with a trip to what’s now my favourite city in Europe, the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. I spent three days with two of my best friends exploring the vast expanse of Amsterdam’s streets, cafes, bars and attractions. It is unbelievable to see how architectural and beautiful the canals and buildings of this metropolis are. I thoroughly enjoyed myself here with a notable visit to Anne Frank’s house and eat with eyes bigger than my belly; the food in Amsterdam is unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before, there is a sweet/cake shop around every corner. Being a typical tourist, sightseeing was at least to say an experience once you ventured into a certain district. Amsterdam is a truly an amazing place, even amongst the number of coffee shops and international outlets, my mate Leon still managed to find a British pub to watch the Tottenham match. After the three days though, I was tired and eager to get back to Swansea. Even Amsterdam Airport Schipol made a statement, unlike a British airport it wasn’t a tourist trap and had working Wi-Fi.

As a student, you have more time and opportunity during this period of your life than any other to experience the world. Not being much of a traveller before university, a trip to Newcastle in 2013, which I had the time of my life visiting made me realise, if this is what our country has to offer, what’s out there in the world. In the last year, in addition to Amsterdam, I’ve taken trips to Liverpool, Dublin, Greece and Croatia with many more trips to Barcelona, Prague and further afield in the coming year already planned. Travel as much as you can while you’re in university, the opportunity won’t be there, as you grow older. If you’re that into travelling, consider the study abroad options. I deeply regret not taking the opportunity to complete a Year Abroad as part of my degree now. But students of the School of Management still have the 4-year programme with 2 x 6 month placements in which one semester can be spent studying abroad at a partner institution.

Upon returning to Swansea to finish my last shift in La Cantina to begin a new job in the New Year, I packed once again ready to head home to stay with family for a week. After the Black Friday weekend was complete, I got on my train to head back home but before I made it through my front door a friend had made sure I went to the Cardiff Devils game, which we won. A Devils match is always fun to watch, especially for me, as I’m not that into sports. The combination of a professional sport mixed with constant fights has you on edge for the entire three periods of twenty minutes.

My time at home was spent visiting my mother and little brothers who I hadn’t seen for a few months and catching up with friends who’d been away at uni too. After a week at home, I grew bored living away from home for fifty weeks of the year I’ve become independent and prefer to live on my own terms.

Moving away to university has helped me to develop the skills to lead my own life keeping my own place, manage my finances and find my feet in the world. I definitely look forward to finding my own apartment in Swansea after graduation. University is a great opportunity and allows you to ease into independent living slowly as students can choose how frequently they return home. I’ve known students go home with a dirty bag of washing every weekend that survive off ready meals and others who cook everyday doing their own washing making trips home only at the holidays. It’s very obvious now at this of year who is ready to graduate for the real world and life of working full time.

After my results last term, I’m confident and hoping to maintain the standard of my work. My new job as a Community & Office Manager for TechHub Swansea is going great, I work for an SME, which provides co-working space, advice and support for tech entrepreneurs is brilliant. TechHub is innovative and cool. My first graduate level job, I was lucky enough to be offered part time employment whilst I complete my degree with a view to full time employment upon completion of my course. I’m grateful to my former manager from my internship in the student mobility office who recommended me for the job. Its proof to show working hard leads to further opportunities.

The challenge is now to set to show I am a capable manager with the potential to become a highly employable graduate of Swansea University School of Management with the aim to achieve a 2:1.

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