“I enjoy being able to engage with those who have walked the halls of the university before me and share in their experiences. It almost feels like hopping into a time machine and seeing the university through a whole new lens. On the flip side, there are places on campus that I’ve mentioned to our alumni that never existed while they were students, and I can now welcome them into that time machine and reveal the difference between then and now.”Jevon, MSc Artificial Intelligence and Data Science
Every year at the University of Hull crucial work supporting our students happens as a direct result of alumni support. We are lucky to have so many talented students from so many different backgrounds studying with us, but sometimes it doesn’t matter how talented a student is, circumstances can conspire to place obstacles between them and success. Whether this is financial pressures, changing family circumstances, difficulty adjusting to the challenges of university life, or simply the need to talk through mental health issues, alumni support through our Annual Telephone Campaign helps our students to make the most of their time at university so that they can have the best chance at succeeding.
But what about the students making the calls? Our team of student callers speak to hundreds of alumni about donating to the Student Success Fund, updating their details with us, what it means to be an alum of the University of Hull, and comparing their experience as students today with those who might not have been on campus for many years or even decades.
We decided to catch up with those students to find out a little more about them – what brought them to Hull, what they enjoy speaking about with graduates and why they think the Student Success Fund is a cause worth supporting.
This year’s call team brings together students from different parts of the University, and different parts of the globe. We have callers from the UK, Nigeria, India, Bangladesh, Sir Lanka, Jamaica and Turkey, all of whom are enjoying speaking to alumni and raising money for the Student Success Fund. For each of the students we caught up with, being able to raise funds for this cause was an important part of why they’re motivated to do the job, and why they enjoy doing it.
Erin, an MSc Business Management student from Sri Lanka says: “It is important to understand that not all students come from the same background, and what we do here with the Student Success Fund, is so much more than just a fund. All the donations go right back to the Student Wellbeing and Mental health and other projects. It helps students who have their own needs with hope and help, and they are never left alone.”
“University life is hard,” Tilly, a BSc Marine Biology student from Essex, “especially if students have come a long way from home or even overseas so all support is important to be there to help those. It’s also a massive shift in how most people live their lives so students need help adjusting.”
Titilope, an MSc Energy Engineering student from Nigeria says: “I believe many students will get overwhelmed, stranded, or stuck at some point during their studies; I know I have. Therefore, it is comforting to know that someone (or a group of people) cares about your welfare beyond academics and grades. All these go a long way to ensure the overall success of a lot of students in the University, which is the ultimate goal.”
Being a student caller is a great way for a student to earn some money whilst studying, but there are also other reasons why they get a lot out of doing the job. It’s flexible, but they also have the opportunity to speak to alumni which is a great way for them to find out more about life after university.
“I have to juggle it with netball but I’m still able to attend netball when I want because I can choose when to work, and also it’s a better job than a lot of jobs students get,” says Tilly. “I saw an advert for it in the gym and thought it was a good job to have as it wasn’t a full time one as I’m already very busy and I could also pick my own shift times. I’m not sure what career I want to do after my degree and I knew I could speak to some people who did the same degree as me and find out what they did.”
Jevon, an MSc Artificial Intelligence and Data Science student from Jamaica says: “I absolutely love the fact that our alumni have experiences that are so diverse and unpredictable; you never quite know what you will encounter. Although I’m from a predominantly STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) background, I’ve been privileged to have delightful conversations with persons from a variety of academic disciplines. I get the rare opportunity to live vicariously through their experiences and get a glimpse into what their lives were like back then and how, utilising the qualification they earned at this very university, they are now able to mitigate the challenges life has tossed their way and proceed to have successful careers. It gives me hope and perspective for what to expect and how to handle life after university.”
Titilope says: “From engaging alumni in conversations, I have heard interesting stories and it has been fun. I have also gained insight into the job market and how students/graduates transition from one career to the next. I like the work environment. We honestly have the best supervisors who are patient with us and are always ready to guide and listen to us. I learn something new and interesting every day on the job. Lastly and to be very frank, I also enjoy the rush from getting a donation.”
You will only hear from our students if you receive a letter first letting you know that we’ll be calling and you will have the opportunity to opt out if you wish. But talking to our students can be a great way to reconnect with the University of Hull and all support goes towards helping the next generation of students who are following in your footsteps.
We’ll leave the final word to Jevon:
“One of the most important lessons we’ve learned from the pandemic is that there are absolutely no guarantees in life. It’s good to know that when the uncertainties of life pop up, there is a safety net waiting for you. It is this security that the Student Success Fund offers to any student who may find themselves in an unforeseen circumstance. In addition, the Student Success Fund has put in place measures to support our students’ mental health, provide means to global opportunities, and create possibilities for those interested in sporting activities. I can’t underscore how important it is to me to know that if things go wrong, I have someone or somewhere I can turn to. The Student Success Fund makes this one less thing I need to worry about.”