Words of wisdom for the Classes of 2020 and 2021

Graduate wearing official attire sat in amongst other graduates looking proudl

We asked alumni for their words of wisdom for Portsmouth graduates and what they wish they'd known before they graduated

  • 09 July 2021
  • 3 min read

From 12 - 28 July 2021, graduates from the Classes of 2020 and 2021 will be marking and celebrating their graduation day; a long awaited and milestone event in their journey. We reached out to our alumni community to ask their advice for graduates.


We asked alumni if there was a piece of advice they were given as a graduate that influenced their next step, or if there were any words of wisdom they wish they’d been offered. We wanted to not only offer some real life advice to graduating students, but also give alumni the chance to make a difference, even to just one person. Here’s what they said:

Rebecca Allyse Lawrence

BA (Hons) Drama and Performance, 2013
Female smiling at the camera

Don’t panic after graduation that you don’t have any further plans. With the experience you’ve had you will know more about yourself and that will tailor where you are going, even if you don’t know where that is yet.

Rebecca Allyse Lawrence, BA (Hons) Drama and Performance, 2013

Mark Rose

BSc (Hons) Radiography, 2000

Be brave in your choice and bold in your career search. I grew up on a council estate in a town with the lowest conversion to HE qualifications in the UK. I am forever grateful to the University of Portsmouth for helping me beat those odds and graduate with a good degree. After spending my formative years at one of the country's leading hospitals, it led me on a career path to directorship, never forgetting the values I was raised on and lived by. I'm grateful for the brilliant advice I was given to follow this path from the fantastic head of school at the University of Portsmouth and hope it will inspire you on your next steps.

Marie-Louise Tambyapin

BA (Hons) Media Studies, 2020

A piece of advice I was given: if you don’t wake up and genuinely feel happy about going into work, then you are in the wrong job. Having a job you enjoy doing will make your life better.

Sheldon Rogers

BA (Hons) History, 2005
MSc Heritage & Museum Studies, 2006

Never give up on your dreams. You'll find out that a career is important but having a good work-life balance will become more important, especially in this new environment (COVID-19) we find ourselves in.

Colin Smith

BA General, 1971

Male wearing baseball cap and glasses sat in a field smiling at the camera

Whatever qualifications you choose to do, whether it be philosophy or nuclear physics, get a career, not a job, that offers you the opportunity to gain skills, not just knowledge. Carpentry, teaching, accountancy, it doesn’t matter, you can make a positive contribution to our world, your fellow man, and for you and your family.

Colin Smith, BA General, 1971

Bianca Nicholson

BSc (Hons) Psychology, 2016
MSc Criminology and Criminal Psychology, 2019

Keep an open mind, opportunities can come from the most unexpected places. Keep utilising the university services available. Never give up.

Dominic Weaver

BA (Hons) Geography, 1994

Start every morning with time for yourself. No excuses. Use it to reflect on what you really want to achieve. Read about how to get it - there's plenty of inspiration out there. Listen to podcasts, too. Exercise. Connect with people who share your values. Simple stuff, but incredibly powerful.

Robert Carr

BSc (Hons) Human Physiology, 2019

Don’t be afraid to try different jobs outside of your specialism. There is so much training available through graduate schemes, many of which are not subject specific.

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