5 min read

Our alumni

Bernard Sheridan

I spoke with the student about my experiences of studying and achieving my award, alongside some advice which included a few things. 

  1. Don’t give up, no matter how hard it might seem.
  2. When people throw in a new academic word which you may not have understood, write it down, find a dictionary and then write the definition in your own words. It will expand your vocabulary as well as making you ‘sound clever’. 
  3. When you consider writing an assignment, first visualise going to the university library and asking yourself which discipline might be able to answer the question. For example, if I have a question about crime prevention I could go to the policing section, but why not also think about geography or architecture. There’s so much to learn and it isn’t all in one place. 

I consider myself fortunate. I didn’t do well at school and was reminded quite often that I was ‘stupid’. By the time I reached 35, I was well entrenched in the belief that I couldn’t improve on where I was or what I was doing, but one day I was presented with an opportunity to take an undergraduate degree which I jumped at. Someone believed that I could do it, even while I doubted I could. Fast forward from that time and I now have two undergraduate degrees, two postgraduate degrees, a PGCE and a DCrimJ. Which isn’t bad for a stupid, scruffy council kid that school pretty much wrote off. I’m now a senior lecturer at a university in the north-west and I believe everyone should have the chance to aspire, regardless of their background.

Overall, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the calling campaign. At the start, I found the idea of speaking to so many strangers over the phone daunting, but most alumni were very nice and I got to experience great conversations.

The most useful advice has been to not stress about specific details like what grade I complete my degree with An alumnus told me no one has ever asked him what grade he got and it ultimately does not matter too much. Your experience is more important so it's better to focus on that.

I’ve learnt something that I didn’t realise I would from the calling campaign. It’s easier to connect with people than I thought, even if on the surface it seems like we don't have much in common. I got to speak to so many people ranging from the age of 26 to up to 70 during the campaign. I wouldn't usually be around people that much older than me, so it was really nice to speak to such a wide array of people and learn from them.

Rosalind Holmes

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

I find it really rewarding knowing that the work we did will help students have a better experience at the University, which goes beyond getting a degree. I feel happy because I was a part of an amazing campaign that will have a positive impact on some students' lives.

During a recent phone call, a former student told me how difficult it was for her to settle down in the UK because her dad immigrated years ago from Spain. It was amazing to see her excitement when she realised Spanish was my mother tongue, and we ended up having the whole conversation in Spanish!

I will take away so much amazing advice from alumni that will benefit my future career! One of the best pieces of advice an alumnus gave me is to never be afraid to ask questions or to make mistakes, as people are usually afraid of doing so, and that's what keeps them from growing and learning.

Rossy Nathalie De Los Santos Arias

MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management, first-year student 

I’m so glad I was able to take part in this campaign. A great story I heard was from an alumna telling me about how she studied languages at Portsmouth and then went on to teach to people aged between 5-75 years old in France, Spain and now England. 

I’m glad I have gained this experience and received so much advice from alumni, particularly about how fast uni can fly by and to enjoy it while it lasts. 

Lovinia Boon

 BSc (Hons) Psychology and Italian, first-year student

The end of student calling

Callers have put down the phones and taken off their headsets for another year, as their outreach to alumni closes after three successful weeks. Your donations, stories, and advice will change the lives of students today and well into the future. For students facing real financial and life challenges, you are a lifeline. 

Your impact of positive change

Graduates have been so generous with their time and with their money. Each alumni call has put a smile on a student's face for all kinds of different reasons. They’ve learned from you about how the University has changed over the years. They got the inside scoop on awkward student moments, career triumphs and life choices. 

And more than that, collectively, as a community, you’ve donated a substantial £62,972 to support students in need! Every gift, of every size means more and more students are closer to studying without financial worries. The doors open wider for them to achieve their full potential, to explore extra-curricular and learning enrichment activities, to breathe easier about accommodation bills or to purchase helpful course materials and equipment. 

The telephone callers

The campaign has been great! It’s been interesting speaking to so many different types of characters and find out where their degrees took them.
Lovinia Boon , BSc (Hons) Psychology and Italian, first-year student