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Q&A: alumna Jess Barrows on sharing tips with students

Jess Barrows graduated from Moray House School of Education with a degree in Applied Sport Science in 2016. Now a member of the team at Scottish Student Sport, we asked her why she now volunteers to advise current Edinburgh students.

Jess Barrows

Why have you chosen to take part in these events? Is alumni advice something you benefitted from while a student?

I wanted to give back to the University to say thank you for my time there. I also recognised that I didn’t receive much, if any, advice from alumni when I was a student and I wanted to play a part in ensuring this was not the case for the current class.  

Why is it so important that students hear from graduates who have gone on to have successful careers?

Alumni advice can help students manage their transition well.  It’s good for students to hear that many before them have made the transition from student to graduate and, not only survived, but excelled!

It’s also beneficial to hear that the journey isn’t always a smooth, straight one. Every student needs to hear that it is okay to make mistakes and it is okay not to find the dream job immediately. There is time to decide what to do, and it’s good to experience as much as possible and be open to what comes along.   

Why would you like to help Edinburgh students? Do you believe an Edinburgh education is a unique one?

I think many alumni have a tie to the University because of nostalgia and gratitude.

The Sport and Exercise Department at Edinburgh is fantastic and the degree I received was brilliant. Living in the city also made the experience a great one for me and the pride I have in knowing I attended one of the leading universities in the world will stay with me forever. I will always try to help the University and give back what I can.

Which moments or activities during your studies really influenced your subsequent career choices and opportunities?

The academic skills gained throughout my degree were greatly beneficial, however I found that my extra-curricular activities really helped my development, and in turn influenced my career path. 

I chose to volunteer in multiple charities and organise sporting events such as the Meadows Marathon. The skills I developed in these roles taught me that administrative and organisational skills are strengths of mine so I decided to turn my passion for physical activity and sport into a career by going in to the administrative side of sport.

What do you wish you’d known as a student?

I wish I had known how much employers value graduates with a well rounded education - not only the degree but also extra-curricular opportunities and work experience. I was lucky because the things I enjoyed doing outside of my studies helped to develop my skills.

The University offers a range of opportunities to enhance employability – and that can be fun to take part in.  I recommend encouraging students to get involved during all years of study, and not only in final year when students start thinking about their careers.

Your insights

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:

Email CJ Cochran

Related links

Careers Service

Edinburgh College of Art alumni