Graduation 2020: "I did not always believe that I was intelligent enough to go to university"
The great melting pot that is the University of Sussex means that students arrive here with wildly different educational backgrounds.
Rosy Guroo’s was a little more unusual than most as she had received little formal education, having been homeschooled for the majority of her life by her mum.
Rosy said: “Being home educated has its advantages and disadvantages. It taught me to love learning rather than see it as a chore and so it equipped me for university life with a strong work ethic. Not attending school gave me the freedom to travel as a child and learn about different cultures, which I believe has helped me immensely when supporting and understanding those I am working with in a social work capacity.
"My alternative education and the path I took showed me how to respect others and myself, to be non-judgemental, resilient, strong willed, confident in myself, motivated but mainly to follow my dreams.
“But being homeschooled also meant that I sometimes doubted my own intelligence and I did not always believe that I was intelligent enough to go to university. Throughout my earlier years, I didn’t have someone marking my progress regularly in the same way that schools offer, and I sometimes wondered if I was gaining enough knowledge.”
Fortunately for Rosy, those fears proved unfounded, as she graduates this week with a first class degree in Social Work and prepares to begin as a newly qualified social worker in September.
But the end of her time with Sussex is tinged with the sadness of Covid-19 depriving her of her graduation celebrations.
Rosy said: “I feel sad not having a graduation and missing out on the celebration of my achievement, because I never got to attend prom as I didn't go to school. It would have meant a lot to me to be able to celebrate the end of university, both for myself but also for my mum who taught me up until college. It was a massive achievement for her too.
“Finishing my degree during a global pandemic was obviously difficult, coping with the restrictions on face-to-face contact at university along with managing the personal emotions that the pandemic were triggering within me. It was a real challenge to complete my social work placement from home, trying to support families who were struggling without being able to physically visit them. All of this was very hard to deal with, to say the least, and caused a lot of uncertainty for me.”
Among her top tips for students who will begin their journey with Sussex this autumn, Rosy recommends keeping a journal.
She said: “I found writing daily in a journal to be really helpful to look back at from the start to the end of uni. For instance, I would never speak up in class at the beginning of the first year due to extreme nerves. However, now I've put myself forward to publicly speak on many occasions. It’s a great way to see how far you’ve come and how far you’ve developed through the university experience.”