Five pieces of advice to Chevening’s class of 2020

In the final edition of the class of 2019’s scholar blogs, we asked them for advice they may have for Chevening’s class of 2020. Afterall, it’s not every day that a cohort faces a global pandemic which changes absolutely everything for them including the way they study, travel, and form relationships. So, class of 2020, here are some things to get you started.

1. STORMY WEATHER

Anjelia San Buenaventura, Philippines

‘Is the British weather that bad? After living in the UK for months, I found a reason to love it. Every time it would rain, I have this habit of looking up to the sky and finding a rainbow and most often I’ll get to see one. They say, rainbows signify hope and a promise of a better time to come.

My Chevening year was like going through stormy weather – with all that is happening around the world and with this pandemic, being faced with anxieties and fears of the uncertainty, and having to go through a testing of faith when my family battled with COVID-19. These struggles made me want to give up, but just like going through storms and trials, there will always be a rainbow and a hope for us.

Looking back now, even with this pandemic, I’m grateful for the bouts of rainbows that came my way – getting excellent marks, building lifelong relationships with people from all over the world, contributing to communities through various volunteer works, finishing my dissertation, and my family recovering from COVID-19.

For those who will be starting their Chevening journey soon, my advice for you is to cherish every moment, both the highs and the lows. Cry if you must, laugh if you must, fight if you must, but also pause if you must. Whatever season you will be going through, know that you will be able to come out of it stronger than ever before.’


2. MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH ACTIVITY

Samuel Wairimu, Kenya

‘My advice to Chevening’s class of 2020 is to take care of your mental health.

The master’s programme is intensive and can take a toll on you. Apart from meeting new friends, I found having a physical activity also works in improving mental health.

In February 2020, I joined a local gym in Reading as a way of refreshing and re-energising my mind after which I ended up increasing my productivity and concentration span. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, gyms were closed in March but in June, with a number of Cheveners we started a WhatsApp group for runners. We would share details of our runs challenging each other on distance and pace. These runs rejuvenated my energy especially after so much reading and writing essays.

As a leader, develop some awareness and know what works for you, even if it is walking, do it as long as it works for you. You will not only develop physical fitness but also refresh your brain which you will need most of the time. Whatever you choose to do, drag a friend and do it together. Despite connecting virtually with other Chevening runners in other areas in the UK, we felt connected to each other all along.’


3. FAST FLOWING TIME

Tassio do Rosario, Mozambique

‘I took this photo while contemplating the beauty of Bute Park in Cardiff. I saw the river Taff flowing strongly and noticed the similarity with our time in the UK; it goes fast. So, I leave some tips to make the most of it:

1. Work hard, but play harder
Having a diploma from the UK is great, but seeing the beauty of the UK with your own eyes is greater. So make a bucket list of your favourite places and try your best to visit them. Covid-19 may be a challenge right now, but hopefully not forever.

2. Make friends
Chevening offers you a chance to meet people from all over the world. Imagine how awesome it is? You’ll find you have similar tastes, and doing things together is definitely more fun. Take the chance to establish long-lasting friendships through the events Chevening offers throughout the year.

3. Be kind to yourself
Sometimes, things in uni don’t go as we plan and we stress about it. Some modules may be more challenging, and maybe our course is not as enthusiastic as we imagined. But don’t go thinking it has something to do with you. It is just an obstacle in your way, and you are not alone. There’s always someone to help. And remember, you are a Chevener, and that already says a lot about you. You have faced challenges before, what are a few more?

And last but not least, have fun and be happy!’


4. YOU WERE CHOSEN FOR CHEVENING

Dito Adisuryo, Indonesia

‘First of all, I would like to congratulate the 2020 Chevening cohort on being #ChosenForChevening. To you all, I have a few messages which may help your Chevening journey ahead.

First, you have to stay bold, alert, and determined with your studies. Despite online learning sessions which might take half of your study, you can still absorb a lot of knowledge and insight from your tutors. Always remember, you were chosen out of the massive number of applicants worldwide! No matter the difficulties and challenges, you can cope with all these. These will bring you on a sense of journey.

Second, stay connected as much as you possibly can. Liverpool FC says, you’ll never walk alone. You’ll have your new friends. During these challenging circumstances, you can take opportunities from various sessions of online engagement.

Third, stay safe and healthy! You can do whatever can maintain your wellbeing, from daily exercises, mindfulness practices, sharing activities with friends through online platforms, and many more positive things. Wherever you are, your safety and health are the most important ones for your Chevening experiences.’


5. WELCOME TO THE CHEVENING FAMILY

Feben Tamrat Mengesha, Ethiopia

‘Dear Incoming Cheveners,

Congratulations!

My advice to you regarding your course work is to always ask for guidance when you don’t know where to start or when you are not confident enough. Believe me, it is not just you that feels this way.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it is the only way you can learn and improve yourself!

Congratulations once again and welcome to the Chevening family.’


Thank you to the class of 2019 for all of your submissions throughout this year to the scholar blogs. We wish you all of the best for the future and will no doubt be seeing all of the amazing things you go on to do now that you are Chevening Alumni.

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