Overall, my university experience has been a generally enjoyable one. Of all the positive aspects of my university experience, the best feature of my time at the University of Liverpool has undoubtedly been the range of extracurricular activities on offer.
Indeed, the university provides a vast array of extracurricular activities, predominantly through its Guild of Students. These include a wide range of societies, volunteering opportunities, creative workshops, and even the opportunity to participate in University Challenge. I have had the pleasure and fortune of utilising all of these opportunities throughout my time at the university, and they have genuinely made my experience at this institution a pleasurable one.
Although I have enjoyed my studies for the most part, the opportunity to take part in these extracurricular endeavours has generally been what has sustained me throughout university. While I am fortunate to be in my sixth year of study, I would not have made it this far without having these extracurricular outlets independently of my studies. Joining the performing arts societies has allowed me to take part in student productions twice a year since my first year, and this has been a great way to meet new people and make friends in what can be an isolating environment, as academic sessions are generally not social occasions.
Being a commuter student who lives around 20 miles away from campus, I have had to make an effort to meet people in university, but that has been made a whole lot easier due to these extracurricular activities, which are very accessible through the student guild's marketing and advertising platforms, which are generally spot on in informing students in available opportunities such as those I have outlined.
Beyond the extracurricular enterprises, the provisions for careers support are also an excellent feature of the university - there are constant workshops organised by the Careers Department encouraging students to step out of their comfort zones and learn a whole host of employability skills in areas that would otherwise not be so accessible, such as modern foreign languages, enterprise and entrepreneurship and the music and creative industry to name three examples. These courses are either free or generally of a low cost, and, on the whole, rather accessible to those looking to enhance their employability.
Similarly, training opportunities to enhance your professional practice through various streams within the university are also abundant. From my own experience, those wanting to go down the teaching route at higher education can enroll in free courses to go down this route through "The Academy", a prominent training provider at the university that provides prestigious qualifications for those wanting to go down this route through rather accessible and insightful courses.
Being a commuter and a P.h.D student, I realise that I only speak for a vast minority of students, but I am struggling to think of ways to improve the university. To be honest, I would say that seminar groups are too big due to the university's recruitment strategy being based around taking in as many students as possible, and while I believe higher education should be accessible, it should not be to the detriment of students' education. This could be mitigated by hiring more staff in order to accommodate this lofty intake of students and enhance their education, but I know my department are working on this already so it's a massive step in the right direction.
My position as a commuter student also perhaps invalidates my word on student accommodation, but making accommodation more affordable and renovating it to make it more homely and presentable may be something worthy of attention to the powers that be if they are going to continue taking in so many students. As a commuter, I would like to see more accessible parking spots for staff and students closer to the university to make commuting a bit easier.
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