Blog post

University isn't always a linear journey

By John Mungai - 7 April 2022

My name is John Mungai. I was born in Kenya and moved to London, UK when I was two years old which was home until I was 19 when I moved to Nottingham. I am now a Derby graduate at 27 years old. I wanted to share my university story with you. To show how everyone’s route to their dreams is different. There isn’t always a linear process.

Choosing my path 

I decided to go to university to gain some more qualifications before I entered the world of work. I chose Derby after hearing good things from a family friend. I have always struggled to achieve the grades I aim for, but after completing a Foundation Degree elsewhere, I chose Derby for a top-up bachelor's in Business Management. I found the course through the University of Derby website and tried to use my current interest and skills to determine which course I should do. What I really liked was that I was able to find coursemates before my course started. This was by joining the University's Facebook group and from there, I began my studies.

Real-world learning 

My lectures were a mix of larger lecture theatres and more intimate study groups. We had various guest lectures from past students who were on graduate schemes, to employees at large organisations such as JCB. I was able to learn skills in project management, marketing, and economics. There was a focus on the real-world application of what we learned, and I have used many of the modules I learned at Derby effectively in the workplace.

Gaining a broader experience 

Outside of my studies, I volunteered for the Student Union as a Programme Representative where I gained valuable skills in communication and organisation.

When I wasn’t studying, I visited Derby town centre which has various museums and places to relax. Shisha bars to nightclubs or restaurants. I found it valuable to balance my study and personal life, so I was able to enjoy my time at Derby.

Derby also helped me a lot when it came to finding a graduate job. The Careers and Employment Service was helpful and supportive when I was applying for roles. I used the Careers service as I knew what my strengths were but needed help in finding a career for me. I ended up getting a Management Graduate job by using their service. They helped with CV writing and interview techniques. Furthermore, whilst at university, I wanted to make sure that I kept on top of my mental health. I made use of the Student Wellbeing services as assignment deadlines approached. They were very receptive and helped ease exam anxiety. I was able to book an appointment with them with relative ease, which helped my peace of mind before exam time.

The future 

I currently work in the sports industry and want to continue to gain experience in this sector. I specifically want to help young people to get into sports. I was also fortunate enough to gain a First-Class Bachelor's degree in Business Management at the University, which I didn't think would have been possible if I did not decide to study at Derby.

Derby really gave me confidence in my education. I feel there are a lot of smart individuals from diverse backgrounds that may not have the self-belief that they can achieve more and gain the skills they need to get to the next step. Derby gave me a confidence boost that I have used since graduating. My advice for students at Derby, or for those making their university decisions - take a chance on yourself as you never know what it can lead to. Reach out for help if you need it and try to help others along the way.

About the author

Student - John Mungai

John Mungai

A Membership Executive at Basketball England.