Studying at Sussex felt like a personal age of enlightenment: there’s an almost tangible atmosphere of excitement, curiosity and passion for debate on the campus. The classroom was a place that welcomed all ideas, whether your own or recounted, a place where thought experiments were encouraged and admired. The further I got into my degree, the more my confidence, and that of and my classmates, grew. Debate became bolder, freer and well challenged. It was the ideal arena to satiate the deep curiosity and passion for learning that Sussex helped me cultivate.
When I compare the person I was before university with who I am now, about to graduate, I can’t believe the change. Before, I was absorbed by my chosen subject, English Literature, with laser focus, but now I’ve been introduced to other schools of thought: philosophy, psychology, history and neuroscience. These are avenues I’d never previously explored, but which I now have a keen interest in continuing to study outside of university. My experience has been a metamorphosis from someone just trying to get a decent degree into someone who aspires to be a lifelong learner, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this new, enriched vision.
I met my best friend, Isla, on our very first day at Sussex. She is someone I know I will never be without. Someone with whom I got to share this new experience, the day-to-day experience and the learning experience. We grew academically, spiritually and philosophically together and engaged in many a late-night conversation on the curiosities and incomprehensibles of being.
I can recall our last few days on the beautiful campus vividly, the sun piercing through the leafy canopy, sitting together with hot-chocolates towering with whipped cream (shout-out to the Arts café!). I remember voicing at the time how at peace I always felt on the Sussex campus; it gave me a sense of belonging that no other educational institution ever has. I harbour suspicions that I’ll be applying to work or study there again some day.
One of my greatest experiences was writing my dissertation: I wrote about an element of Aristotelian rhetoric, best described as the opportune moment, within Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The opportunity to dive deeply into the ancient realm of rhetoric was challenging, exciting and involved some rather dusty books that hadn’t been checked out for more than 30 years! I had the honour of being guided by Andrew Hadfield, without whom the dissertation would not have taken form. It was his Shakespeare module, which I had studied the previous year, that inspired my passion for rhetoric and for Shakespeare, and I am very thankful to have had his guidance throughout writing my dissertation.
My experience at Sussex transcended all the expectations I held for university; it was there I felt, for the first time, true well-being. An all-encompassing experience that words can only aspire to describe.