It’s the last week of calling for students facing financial challenges! Hear from student callers about some of the wonderful conversations they’ve had with you, Portsmouth alumni – and the impact you’re having

Student at their desk smiling

Hundreds of alumni have already donated and, even better, you’ve shared your memories, life experience and advice with callers who so appreciate your time and generosity.

  • 10 May 2022
  • 5 min read

Students are in their final week of calling alumni and raising support for those among them who face financial barriers and real challenges to reaching their full potential at uni and beyond.

Callers are passing on the latest Portsmouth news and you, in turn, have been sharing your stories and your advice for life beyond university. No question, you are making a difference in the lives of the next generation of Portsmouth grads. 

Time to change a life 

To those alumni who have already spoken with callers and given to students in need, thank you. Thank you for making the time to connect, to share your time, knowledge, insights as well as your financial support. Student callers have been impressed with your generosity, never mind your career advice and tips for life after graduation. They have a new appreciation for what it means to be a Portsmouth grad – and greater confidence in their futures. 

Beyond the callers themselves, so many students benefit from the funds they raise. Your gifts help with everything from paying the bills for food and accommodation, to opening the door for a summer learning enrichment trip abroad. Thanks to you, students can focus on their studies without the worry of making ends meet. 

One more week of calling to go and students are looking forward to making it a great one. Here they share some of the favourite stories they’ve heard from you so far.

The telephone callers

Rosalind Holmes

BSc (Hons) Television and Broadcasting, third-year student

Photo of student Rosalind Holmes smiling

When alumni have asked about what has changed since they were students, I have described all the great resources I have available to me and the state of the art equipment I get to use.

Rosalind Holmes, BSc (Hons) Television and Broadcasting, third-year student

I’m really enjoying calling and I’m finding it easier as the campaign progresses. I’m finding myself a lot more confident on the phone and having some great conversations. I spoke to an alumnus who now works in the film industry. He described his job as managing film releases in the country, predicting future trends and planning innovative marketing strategies. This was very interesting to me as I’m studying in a similar industry, so it’s inspired me to consider all my career options.

An alumnus told me about an odd experience in student accommodation in their first-year with a flatmate. They told me a story about how this flatmate used to sleepwalk at night and end up in their room! They told the story in such a funny way and I was able to relate with some funny flatmate experiences I’ve had.

I spoke to an alumnus who is now a university professor. He told me about how as a student he sometimes didn’t have the best experience with tutors. He felt they didn’t encourage him or make him feel competent with what he was doing. Fortunately, he is using these experiences to make sure he is a kind and approachable lecturer, so he never makes a student feel like his tutor made him feel.

An alumnus gave me great advice on how to go about researching for a project or paper. They said when you enter the library, don’t go straight to the section for the exact course you’re studying. Take a moment to think about what other subjects tie into the topic and get information from them. I found this valuable advice because while the most straight-forward method is to research only within your course, those other subjects serve different perspectives.

Alumni have been so glad to hear about how the university has expanded, and continues to do so. Some alumni who left the university several decades ago describe their experience, which was very interesting to hear about. They were fascinated by how much the University has progressed through the years and since it was a Polytechnic.

Rossy Nathalie De Los Santos Arias

MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management, first-year student 

Photo of student, Rossy, smiling

I finally had the opportunity to speak to an alumnus from the Polytechnic who graduated over fifty years ago, and it has probably been one of the best phone calls I've had throughout the campaign.

Rossy Nathalie De Los Santos Arias, MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management, first-year student

I have heard many interesting stories so far. I was told by an alumna that she was grateful to the University because after graduating she was invited to her best friend's wedding, whom she had met at the University of Portsmouth, and during the wedding she met her best friend's brother, whom she later married.

It was funny when an alumnus mentioned that if there was one thing he would have done differently in university, it would have been to party more! A useful piece of advice I will take forward was from an alumnus currently working for a large company as a hiring manager, saying that being organised is one of the best soft skills a professional can have.

An alumnus who graduated 30 years ago was surprised when I mentioned the University's 30th Anniversary, and he said he hopes to attend the big celebration in September!

Joel Rattray

 BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science, second-year student

An interesting story one alumnus told me, was that their job allowed them to criticise clothing designs made by employees within the company before availability on the market for purchase in stores over the UK

Joel Rattray, BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science, second-year student

I’m finding the campaign fascinating, and educational at the same time. Through communicating with alumni, I’ve learnt lessons from their stories as well as developing skills. An alumnus, who is a major within my current degree, advised me to ensure I am completing my degree because of the passion I have for the course, not for the future benefits it can bring. This is because I cannot invest myself into a career that I am not happy with and would result in being miserable from a lack of enthusiasm. Many of the alumni I informed about the opening of the Ravelin Sports centre later this year shared a similar excitement.

Only 6 days to go

Maybe you’ve not had the pleasure of speaking with a student caller yet? Please keep an eye on your phone and do take a few minutes to talk with them if you have the chance. It means the world to them and to the many others they represent.

You can find out more about opportunities to support students here.

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30th anniversary celebrations