More words of wisdom from the Portsmouth alumni community

Graduates sat in official graduation attire at their ceremony

Words of wisdom from one graduate to another

  • 13 July 2021
  • 3 min read

This year’s graduation ceremonies are in full swing and with many more graduates becoming part of the Portsmouth alumni community, former students have got in touch to offer their words of wisdoms for those starting the next part of their journey:

Paula Simpson

BA Economics, 1987

Graduate in official attire sat on a leather sofa smiling at the camera

There is no right or wrong path to take. Always enjoy what you do.

Paula Simpson, BA Economics, 1987

Corinne Lavictoire

BA (Hons) Journalism with Media Studies, 2016

If it's hot on your graduation day, make sure you bring a bottle of water as it can get really hot in the graduation gowns and wear comfortable shoes as you are likely to be on your feet for most of the day. Make the most of every minute of your graduation day and take lots of pictures!

Michal Tomasz Szymanski

BSc (Hons) Product Design & Innovation, 2009

End all your good and bad days the same way. Celebrate all your successes & failures as both are equal in value. You learned what works & what doesn’t. Education to me is being taught what someone else already knew. Knowledge comes from venturing into pages not yet turned or written.

Four rules which have served my career since graduating:

  1. Develop a habit of teaching yourself - in life I think you only need to know about 80%. The rest you can work out. Education has a graduation date, learning is for life.
  2. You are not the smartest person in the room - everyone has value, ideas, opinions. If you are not willing to listen, you are on your own and on your own you shall fail. 
  3. It is better to aim high and miss than to aim low and hit - passion before paychecks. 
  4. Never underestimate the value of being kind to people & simply being a decent human - being humble goes far.

I wish you all luck in your future endeavours!

Allison George

BSc Criminology and Criminal Justice, 2003

Congratulations! Any job is better than no job. You can keep working on the career thing, but I’d recommend earning and proving your work ethic from the off, no matter what that looks like - I think it's better than having CV gaps if you can do it.

Keep an open mind on what you want to do - I always wanted to be a researcher and finally started that job aged 40. I've had two careers before this. You can always change what you do!

Naheed Mirza

(MPharm) Pharmacy, 2020

Female smiling at the camera

Graduation is one of the most amazing days of your life. The most powerful thing which you have right now is your degree, which no one can take away from you. Graduation is your first step in making a difference in people's lives. The strongest factor for success is believing in yourself, believing you deserve it and believing that you will get there no matter what happens.

Naheed Mirza, (MPharm) Pharmacy, 2020

Starting my new job role after graduating was really exciting but at the same time very challenging. The world of work comes with both rewards and challenges, but always stay optimistic. Tell yourself ‘I can overcome these challenges’ as that mental attitude itself will bring inner strength and self-confidence. Remember, every morning that you wake up you will not always be motivated therefore you must learn to be disciplined to become that successful person that you want to be.   

I would highly recommend networking as much as possible. Networking opens many doors of opportunities which are otherwise difficult to reach.

Hannah Morton

BSc Geography, 2012

It's okay if you go into work or build a career that isn't seen as directly linked to your degree. Studying for your degree has given you a wide range of skills that can be applied in many areas of the workforce, not just specific subject knowledge.

Stian Engeboe

BSc (Hons) Music and Sound Technology, 2019

Not knowing what you want to do upon graduating is okay. Take it day by day. It's a big world out there so remember to be gentle with yourself and most importantly believe in yourself. Don't worry about asking questions, even the silly ones, as it'll make the workplace a better place.

Kevin McLennan

BA (Hons) Business studies, 2011

Remember in the real world you can fail, and it's a good thing as long as you learn from it. Now there's no grade to chase, create your own goals to achieve what success is to you.

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