Several alumni have taken part in Welcome Week events aimed at marking the new academic year and welcoming new students to the University.
Welcome talks, academic fairs and events tailored for both new undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as those returning, have been held across the campuses.
Andrew Forsyth, a 2014 graduate of International Development, is one of the alumni who took part in the events. Andrew spoke to a packed audience at a postgraduate welcome event in McEwan Hall, offering advice and insights into life as a student at Edinburgh, as well as his subsequent career path.
We spoke to Andrew about why he volunteered to take part in the Welcome Week event and his take on life at the University of Edinburgh:
Andrew, you must have strong memories of your own first weeks at the University, but why have you volunteered to take part in the Welcome Week event?
I remember how daunting a new city, new course and new classmates were when I started my Masters. I want to reassure new students that they would find their feet both academically and geographically more quickly than they probably think.
Is alumni advice something you yourself benefitted from while a student? Why is it so important that students hear from graduates who have gone on to have successful careers?
It would have been useful to have alumni talking through the path that led to where they arrived in their career. Now being on the other side, I think just hearing the variety of ways someone can end up in a certain job is reassuring - it shows that it isn't always a one size fits all route.
What inspires you to help Edinburgh students?
Studying in Edinburgh is unique for a number of reasons. Edinburgh not only boasts beautiful scenery and architecture but attracts the brightest minds among students and academics. Studying in Edinburgh therefore has the perfect blend of academic challenge and the landscape to explore and enjoy when your head is not immersed in the latest research paper.
Which moments or activities during your own studies really influenced your subsequent career choices and opportunities?
Leading seminars of my peers, all of whom were knowledgeable and passionate about the subject matter, has prepared me well for the world of work. Everyday meetings are full of people with divergent opinions and methods for doing work. Being able to navigate this is a vital skill and university seminars are the perfect means by which to hone techniques in this area.
What do you wish you’d known as a student?
There are three things I'd wish that I had know whilst being a student:
1. You know more than you think you know;
2. The careers service is hugely useful and should be engaged with throughout your studies; not just at the end;
3. Student discount offers should be utilised as much as your bank account allows - things are more expensive as a proper working adult.
The Alumni Insights events are only possible thanks to the generous support of our alumni who take part. If you are interested in participating in one of our events, please contact CJ Cochran, Alumni Manager: