'We never give up or let obstacles stop us from achieving our goals at Bucks'

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Date: 2nd Sep 2019

Emily HarrisGraduating BA (Hons) Dance and Performance student Emily Harris can’t wait to start rehearsals for her new job.

As valedictorian, Emily will give a speech at today’s graduation ceremony, for the School of Art, Design and Performance.

She said: “Since finishing in May I have been working for a corporate dance company as a freelance dancer and have also just been offered a job as a dancer in the Halloween show at Chessington World of Adventures Resort. I am very excited to start started!”

We sat down with Emily to talk about what she felt was best at Bucks and what the future holds.

Hi Emily. Looking back over the last three years what has been your experience of Bucks overall?

During my time at Bucks I have grown as a person from all the opportunities that I have been given. I have made every second count by getting involved with a host of activities, leading my own dance competition team for two years, as well as achieving over 500 hours of volunteering.

My experience of the ‘Bucks family’ has been overwhelming throughout the past three years. The community between peers, lecturers and Bucks Students' Union staff is closer than other universities could even comprehend. The powerful feeling of always having people around that care about you and want the best for you is something that will not be forgotten.

I am extremely proud and grateful to be a Bucks student and it’s an honour to be able to share my pride and appreciation by speaking on behalf of my peers at graduation.

How did you feel in your first week on campus?

I remember my first week at university like it was yesterday. The welcome speech that was delivered in the very room that graduation will be held, and it is something that has stuck with me. I remember the Vice-Chancellor saying that the next time we will all be sat in the Wycombe Swan together will be when we graduate.

My reaction to this was that ‘graduation is ages away’ but it feels like I have blinked and all of a sudden the three years are over. The nerves of meeting new people for the first time, knowing you would be spending the next three years with them and sharing so many new life experiences and memories with them was a daunting but exciting feeling that can’t be explained through words.

That first week was a roller coaster of emotions and thinking back now, it felt like I had known people for years - when in fact it had been a couple of days. That was the week we started our transition to independence. Looking back I can proudly say I have made friends for life and memories that will never be forgotten.

What have been your ‘best bits’?

There are too many best bits to choose from. One would definitely be having been involved in BNU Dance club. I was captain for two years and the pride that I felt in every competition and event was amazing.

To be part of such a close family was amazing! Receiving Captain of the Year in 2018 was definitely a highlight as well. Before coming to uni I would have never even had the confidence to nominate myself for such a role.

Overall the best moments of the past three years all revolve around my friends and experiences shared with them. Varsity this year has to be up there with the best moment. That moment when the whistle blew and everyone realised we had won was insane! Running onto that pitch and how that felt will stay with me forever!

What have you found most challenging?

Working in an array of different and unexpected areas within my course that I was not very familiar with. We had to organise an event in our final year as a whole year which was very challenging but we managed it and it was very rewarding. In the process we managed to raise money for Buckinghamshire Mind as well.

What has been the most surprising part of your course?

The amount of opportunities that have been provided to me in relation to my career. I have always heard that networking is crucial and by coming to Bucks I’ve had those opportunities in abundance.

How do you think Bucks has prepared you for the world of work?

There are so many opportunities and support to apply our learning. Lecturers were always trying to introduce us to industry professionals and allow us to gain real experiences that can benefit us once we leave university. The independence and confidence I have gained is second to none and I am so grateful.

What makes you #BuckProud?

There are many things that make me proud of Bucks. The sense of community and the support that everyone has for each other is the main thing. The tenacity that is present within staff and students is amazing.

What do you wish other people outside of our walls knew about Bucks New University?

I wish knew how strong we were as a university. We may not be the biggest university in size but we have more tenacity, determination and creativity to make up for that. We never give up or let obstacles stop us from achieving our goals. Whether that be as a university or individually.

What will you take away from Bucks today?

I was told at the start of my journey that you get out what you put in and I made sure that I put in as much as possible. My course, being student rep for all three years, and Captain of BNU dance and jazz choreographer for two years, all have given me skills that will help me in my future career.

Doing over 500 volunteering hours has given me a sense of fulfilment and the confidence that I have gained is unbelievable. If someone had told me before coming to uni that I would have achieved half of the things that I have in my time here I would have told them they were crazy. Bucks has truly shaped me as a person.

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