Economics graduate Daniel Tetteh was this years recipient of the Daniel Trotter prize, awarded to a student who has fought the hardest to overcome challenges throughout their degree. He reflects here on how he found the right balance between studies, extra curricular activities and well-being during his time here.
‘Reflecting on my time at the University of Kent, I have very fond memories of both academic and extracurricular activities I had the opportunity to experience. It feels like not so long ago, I was a first year student moving into my halls of residence in Parkwood, meeting my housemates for the first time. Fast forward to graduation this July at Canterbury Cathedral and it has been quite a journey. I would like to take this opportunity to share my experiences at Kent, a few of the lessons I’ve learnt along the way, and to give thanks for the much needed support I received during my time.
Economics at Kent is a great degree with many different career options available. Further study and academic research, working in government as an economist, or working in finance are common ones that spring to mind. However, other options include working in marketing, for NGOs and charities, or becoming an entrepreneur. These are just a few of the career options that an economics degree can open for you. Nevertheless, in the current economic climate, it is vital not only to have a great degree but to also take advantage of the many extracurricular activities on offer to make you a well-rounded candidate for any career path you choose to follow.
One great option that I can recommend from experience is to volunteer as a Student Representative. In this position, you play a significant role in the voice of the student community. Another option is to join a society or even a society committee. During my time at Kent, I had the pleasure of serving both as a Portfolio Manager and President to Kent Invest. This society helps students to learn fundamental skills in the areas of equities and corporate finance, a must join for anyone interested in a career in finance. Aside from being great opportunities to develop transferable skills or subject knowledge/examples for interviews, taking part in extracurricular activities allows you to earn Employability Points with the Careers and Employability Service. Using my accrued points in my first year, I was able to redeem a week’s work experience at Handelsbanken, which was a great insight into the world of banking.
While at university, especially in your first year as cliché as it sounds, it is important to step out of your comfort zone and say yes to new opportunities. However, with the hustle and bustle of university life, it is also important to find balance and to have your priorities in order. In my opinion, you should make sure to prioritise your health, followed by your degree (the reason you’re at university in the first place) followed by other commitments. It is also important to incorporate activities that you enjoy, helping you unwind and to promote good health all round.
Unfortunately, due to health reasons, I had to step away from my commitments and take some time out of university. Upon my return, the Division of Human and Social Sciences Student Support team were always happy to help and played an important role in providing all the necessary support I needed throughout the year. Additionally, my wellbeing mentor, academic advisor and final year project supervisor all played a significant role in guiding me in the final year in relation to my project and other aspects of my studies. Without such support it would have been very difficult to successfully graduate. My advice to students at any stage is that while hard work and grit is important, you should not be afraid to ask for help as the university has the support systems in place to assist you with the challenges you may face.
Despite the significant challenges I faced health wise I was able to successfully complete my degree and graduate. Receiving the Daniel Trotter Award was a pleasant surprise, an award with great inspiration and provides great motivation as I move forward into the next chapter of my life.’
Daniel Tetteh just graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Economics.
Find out more about Student Support Services at Kent here.