Graduating from University can feel like the end of an era, but there’s also plenty to celebrate. The Alumni Award Graduate Medals acknowledge the incredible achievements of our most recent graduates across all degrees and disciplines – and they open doors to all sorts of opportunities. Here, some past medallists share why receiving a Graduate Medal was so special to them.
The Graduate Medals shine a light on the exceptional work being done by those just starting out in their careers. Receiving recognition for early career work can go a long way when it comes to building a strong resume – and self-confidence.
“It was a wonderful honour to receive the Graduate Medal, and really up there with competing at the Olympics,” says Lavinia Chrystal, who was awarded the Graduate Medal for sporting achievement. “Of course, it has helped with landing a job, but more than anything it’s given me the self-confidence and belief that I am as capable as the next person.”
“Even now, over a year after receiving the medal, I still can’t believe my luck,” says Dr Lukasz Swiatek. “Nominating someone for a Graduate Medal is a tremendous way of highlighting that person’s hard work.”
“It makes me think that the work I did during my time here was valued – which is an extremely gratifying feeling,” medallist Rhys Michie says.
A key part of the Graduate Medal process is the award ceremony, where all the recipients of both the Graduate Medals and the Alumni Awards are able to meet and share their work. It’s a networking opportunity like no other for recent graduates, who mingle with well-established alumni from a wide range of careers.
“I had the pleasure to meet some incredible people from the Alumni Council who gave great advice,” says Dr Tomonori Hu. “You can’t buy this kind of experience – those connections are really helping me move forward in my career.”
“There are so many wonderful people involved in and achieving so many different and interesting things at the University. These awards are a celebration of this diversity and excellence,” says Lavinia, who has since moved to Norway to head up a division of a telecommunications company.
“Meeting the right people and having the right conversation can lead to so many opportunities,” adds Tomonori. Lukasz agrees, “A Graduate Medal doesn’t just provide an amazing end to one chapter; it can also help open new chapters.”
The awards honour the work of our alumni in front of the broader University community, but it’s the people who work closely with recent graduates that are aware of who deserves to be nominated. Research supervisors, lecturers and classmates who take the time to nominate make these awards possible, and not only does it mean a great deal to the recipients, it adds a huge boost to the CV of a recent graduate.
“I was overwhelmed to read their reasons for nominating me,” says Rhys, who was nominated by his lecturer and classmates. “Being nominated by people who were important to me was a wonderful experience.”
“It gave me a lot of confidence and support,” says Tomonori, who was nominated by his PhD supervisor and has gone on to build a start-up company. “Opportunities like this do not come so often, but this opened many doors for me.”
“I’m still very grateful,” Lukasz agrees, having been nominated by a colleague in the Department of Media and Communications. “It’s likely to be just a small gesture for a nominator, but it could represent an enormous career boost for a graduate.”
“A nominator only needs to give a small amount of time to give a nominee an enormous amount of joy.”