Welcome to the School of Education: From an international student at the University of Bristol

By Chidinma Ibemere, MSc Education (Leadership and Policy), School of Education

Dear SOE Student,
My name is Chidinma Ibemere. I had the privilege of studying Education Leadership and Policy (MSc.) as a 2022/2023 Think Big Scholar. It is my pleasure to write you this informal piece to welcome you to the prestigious School of Education, at the University of Bristol.

Firstly, I would love to humbly congratulate you on achieving this milestone. You have done well for yourself, and you should be proud of being a part of an exceptional community with a proven track record of academic and social achievements.

As you begin this new phase, it is not unusual to have mixed emotions. This may be the first time leaving your family or your comfort zone and it is absolutely normal to be anxious or uncertain. Well, I am here to assure you that you will be fine.

I have decided to share some tips that may be useful as you navigate this new experience. I hope it meets you well!

Be kind to yourself: If things are not going as planned, please, do not be harsh on yourself. New experiences come with changes and sometimes, such change may be uncomfortable. Give yourself grace through it all because this is the first time you are having this specific season in your life. It is unfair to talk down or think less of yourself. Be your own cheerleader. Whatever rough situation you may witness will not last.

Reach out: The School of Education is structured to guide you academically and professionally, and the system is designed provide support at every step of the way. I believe you have been assigned your personal tutor. No matter how insignificant you think your concern is, please, reach out to your personal tutor. If your tutor is unable to resolve it, you will be guided on next steps (Side note: I feel that I had the best Personal Tutor. Special shout out to Dr. Artemio).

Please, bear in mind that your mental wellbeing is of utmost importance to not just you or your loved ones but also to the School of Education. It is essential to them that the students they train are balanced in all spheres of life.

Also, there are resources to engage with on Blackboard to support your wellbeing. The Student Service team exist because of you. Please, try to be actively involved in taking care of yourself. Reach out, speak up. You matter to the world!

Be Courageous: If you have challenges with your assessments or any aspect of a lecture or a course, please, try not to be shy to speak up and seek help. Discuss with your lecturers or your course mates. Ask questions. There is nothing wrong with trying to gain clarity. This could be physically or via email but please, be respectful. You have come this far and you need all the support to go farther. Kindly choose courage.

All work and no play… make you a [please, fill in the blank space]: Whilst aiming for a fantastic grade in your assessments, it is important you are conscious about living a little. Let not your social life suffer. Engage in activities that would bring you happiness, peace of mind and can be impactful to the community. The world is in need of vibrant scholars and you are the one we are waiting for. You can volunteer in various spaces, join any SU society, participate in contests, keep in touch with your loved ones and do so much more. The idea is to live truly.

I am rooting for you and wishing you the very best. May the purpose for which you decided to embark on this journey be actualised. May the world be shaped for good because of your impact.

Once again, Congratulations!

Signed, Chidinma

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