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This is a guest blog written by Rebecca Fowell, who is currently studying BSc (Hons) Geography at BU.

I SURE am happy I took part in the undergrad conference!

Coming to university can be a pretty daunting experience. You effectively get kicked out of the nest at 18, you’re surrounded by complete and utter strangers and you actually have to try and work out how to use a washing machine. So yeah, the initial few steps into uni are pretty scary, but once you get past all of that and start to feel a bit more at home (I promise you it happens), the whole “university experience” actually provides you with so many amazing opportunities which you simply could not get anywhere else!

I’m currently in my final year at BU studying Geography, and have only really recently started taking these opportunities by the horns. One such opportunity was the Showing Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE) conference, which was basically a day where both past and current students gave presentations/made posters about a bit of research they had done within their time at BU. For me, this meant giving a power point presentation on my dissertation – Is Weather in the Southwest UK Significantly Affected by Hurricanes?

Now I’ll be honest, I had received emails and seen posters dotted around uni about this SURE conference, but, being a final year student with a lot on my plate, I kind of disregarded doing it from the off. So I carried on with life as normal until I received an email from my tutor saying that I should put my name forward for the SURE conference. Now I’m not being funny, but the last thing I wanted to be doing after months and months of writing this dissertation was make a 10-minute power point presentation about my dissertation, but when your tutor suggests you do something, you should probably do it!

Long story short, I managed to get accepted onto the conference, and somehow actually managed to be awarded with the ‘best original research via oral presentation’ award; considering I genuinely put the presentation together the day before the conference, I’m still somewhat shocked that I managed that (I’m not endorsing leaving things to the last minute and you should definitely do any essays etc. in plenty of time – this was merely a fluke).

And it turns out I’m actually really proud of myself for doing it! Not only did taking part in the conference boost that classic confidence for public speaking and give me something to talk about on my CV/in interviews, but considering I was presenting my own research, it was actually really nice to be acknowledged for something you’ve been working so hard on for so long. Gives you that sense of pride.

And this is only one of the many experiences BU has to offer!! I’ve also been lucky enough to go on two overseas placements – one of which this same tutor managed to organise for me (note-to-self: I really should get her some flowers or something as a thank you… she’s done a fair bit for me) – but yeah, there are so many different opportunities waiting for you when you get here! My one bit of parting advice though: please don’t leave it until your final year.

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