Every year Scholarships give a selection of students, the opportunity to break down barriers and start working towards their education and career aspirations. Gifts from our donors, including donations in Wills, have mean that 24 students were awarded scholarships through the Opportunity Scholarship programme and started their Loughborough journey in October 2020.
Ellie is an undergraduate student studying Pyschology from the North West.
When she was awarded an Opportunity Scholarship in 2018, she explained:
"My family were involved in the horrific Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, which left my mum severely injured and in need of care, and myself suffering with PTSD and severe anxiety. The repercussions of this event have affected my ability to socialise and complete day to day tasks such as using public transport. I also struggle with memory and recall, which makes studying significantly harder.
Receiving this scholarship will massively transform my university experience; I do not want my health condition or personal situation to ever hold me back from pursuing my passion and chasing my dreams.”
Since her arrival at Loughborough, Ellie has succeeded very well academically, regardless of the implications caused by the pandemic. She says:
"Dealing with the changes the pandemic has brought has been difficult. Having to adapt to a new way of living and being separated from family members, meant trying to carry on university as normal was hard. Trying to complete group coursework with individuals from around the country was also a struggle. My already difficult home situation meant I had to juggle caring responsibilities (grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning etc) alongside full-time study; something I would normally do out of term time. Having my younger sister home from school also meant working situations were a challenge. With us both having lots of work to complete, and her needing lots of additional support with hers, managing who does what and when was difficult.
One of the biggest lessons I have learnt over the last academic year is that flexibility is key. No one knows when things are going to change or what the future holds and for this reason, it has proven so important to be ready to adapt and rise to whatever challenges are thrown your way. I have also learnt how to mix family life with working life, something I would not do whilst away at university, which will prove extremely useful in my future career. Being one of the project leaders for Right to Read this year has taught me a lot. Its highlighted the importance of my organisation skills and how they can benefit others around me. I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone, participating in pitches and winning funding as a result. Most importantly, this year has taught me to never take anything for granted, whether that be time with family, friends or academics, every opportunity is an opportunity worth pursuing.
As always, the scholarship has helped me immensely this year. Having this donation is the factor that enables me to stay studying at Loughborough University; without it, I wouldn't be here. The money enables me to fill my car with petrol to travel home when needed to care for my family, it pays for the books I need during my course, it allows me to enjoy time out with my friends, pay for a gym membership and most importantly, stops me from worrying about finances. With being away from university for the majority of semester two, the scholarship money is going to enable me to upgrade my laptop which I have been needing to do for a while!
For me, the next academic year will hopefully be in 2021, as I have successfully secured a placement. It involves me working as a part of the psychology time in a local prison. After hopefully completing my placement year, I am excited to return to Loughborough and complete my degree. I am looking forward to getting stuck into my dissertation, throwing myself into new volunteering opportunities and finishing my Loughborough experience on a high.
Each year, I can only ever say the same thing; thank you to those who support scholarships for allowing my university journey. As I have said countless times, your acts of kindness each year provides me and others with the best university experience we could ever ask for. Taking away my financial worries ensures that all my efforts, each year, go into achieving the best academically and personally. University is something I love and enjoy so much and I am extremely grateful and thankful to be apart of the Loughborough Family. You are helping me to experience new things and fully immerse myself into what Loughborough has to offer and for that, I will be eternally grateful."
Paula was awarded a Development Trust Scholarship (now known as an Opportunity Scholarship) when she started studying Fine Art at the University in 2013. She graduated in 2016 and provided this update on life after Loughborough and the impact of her scholarship:
"The scholarship supported me on my course by paying for any art materials I required. It also funded gallery and museum visits which helped with research and contextualising my work. Moreover, I used the scholarship to enter art competitions which typically have entry fees and went on to win 'The Ultimate Edible Masterpiece', the Art Fund's national art competition.
The Development Trust Scholarship also supported extracurricular activites. It paid for my membership to Loughborough's Aikido and Shotokan Karate Clubs so I could continue training in martial arts throughout my degree.
In addition, receiving the scholarship meant I could focus on my studies without the need to juggle work commitments; therefore I wasn't disadvantaged in the time I could commit to my course. It also opened up the opportunity for me to volunteer during summer holidays rather than seek paid work. Outside of term time I was able to give back to the local community by volunteering up to 24 hours a week across two Loughborough charity shops.
After graduating from Loughborough in 2016, I moved closer to home and completed my masters degree in Fine Art at the University of Southampton. After completing my MA, I found employment in the finance department of a large insurance company where in May 2020 I was promoted to Vendor Analyst.
Whilst initially my time was taken up with work and organising my wedding, time saved by working from home and not having to commute during lockdown has allowed me to recently concentrate on my artwork. My aim is to draw high quality designs for merchandise in Photoshop. My current depictions of exotic animals are inspired by my rescue bearded dragon Fuji. This merchandise is available on platforms including Amazon.
I am very grateful for both my education in Fine Art and being a Development Trust Scholar as this allowed me to make the most of my course and time at Loughborough. I would like to thank Loughborough University and its donors for making all this possible."
The stories of Juwon, Freya and Bekah
The Scholarships+ programme helps scholars and vulnerable students with their mental health and wellbeing, and supports them to become workplace-ready, giving them the best chance of a successful career after graduating.
Donations to Scholarships+ have funded the Nightline Student Listening Service, targeted peer mentoring support for black students to help them secure placements and internships, and recruitment of new ‘Academic Success Coaches’ for students. This is a pilot scheme pioneered by Professor Rachel Thomson as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching), in which dedicated coaches follow the ethos from performance sport to encourage, inspire and motivate students to succeed, informed by learning analytics data for individual students. Our vision for this new offer is to ensure that every student has access to a Personal Academic Tutor, a Wellbeing Advisor and a ‘Coach’.