Lucie Hamilton is a third year Rep and this year's winner of the Education Impact Award at the SU Awards 2018. She tells us what winning an SU Award means to her:
When I began my time at Anglia Ruskin University three years ago, I had no idea of the journey I was about to embark upon.
I started my degree back in September 2015 with a vision to expand my knowledge on early education and become more efficient at my day job in a nursery. However, I have come to realise that studying at ARU raises a phenomenal passion from deep inside that is hard to ignore. The teaching staff and students on campus have an incredible ability to make you see things about yourself that you didn’t even know were there.
I have always been a passionate and dedicated worker, but I always imagined I would simply train myself to be better at my role as a nursery practitioner. Yet the more I studied, and with every year of my degree that passed, my desire to make bigger changes grew. I was no longer happy to just better myself, I wanted to better society. I wanted to effect change within the early educational field. I wanted to make a difference.
When I found out I was nominated for the Education Impact Award I was, hand on heart, shocked. I wasn’t aware the awards were happening so I had no warning that a nomination could even be possible. The work I do at ARU as a Representative is an absolute joy and I love being part of the team. Working alongside staff and students is definitely the way to achieve results and to be part of that process is amazing. I always feel everything I do is done as part of a team. I wouldn’t be a Rep if other students didn’t talk to me. And I wouldn’t have a voice to bring forward if the staff didn’t support me. So even though my name was nominated for this award, it is most definitely a team achievement.
It was wonderful to have fellow peers at the awards ceremony, especially when I was announced the winner. I was in utter disbelief and my friend managed to catch my reaction on camera which was lovely – albeit slightly embarrassing! I was trembling from head to toe as I walked to the stage and I think that just showed how shocked I was; I really didn’t believe I could win. I was honoured to have simply been nominated.
Winning the award showed me how much my peers and the staff respect the things I do and how hard I work to gain recognition and raise awareness for early education. I absolutely adore studying this field, so to have recognition for my work in it is incredible.
When I started my degree, I wanted to make myself the best practitioner I could, so that I could make a difference to a setting. But now, three years later, it just isn’t enough. I want to teach others to be the best practitioners they can be so that the change is bigger, and helps more people.
If I become a high quality worker, I can create a high quality setting. But If I train a team of 60 practitioners to be high quality workers, we can change the quality of 60 settings. And that is where real change begins to happen.