1. Tell us about yourself.
I’m a 21-year-old comedy queen who makes everyone cry with laughter around her… Nope, that’s not right.
My name’s Sophia Donovan-Spalding and I graduated from Anglia Ruskin in October 2017, and I’m also the first person from my immediate family to receive a degree.
I would describe myself as a 21-year-old shopaholic with a make-up and dog obsession (not a make-up-on-dog’s obsession as that would be quite strange!).
I’m also a bit of a bookworm and a book hoarder. I have two full bookshelves in my house, with books ranging from Dr Seuss to Martina Cole. I can never throw a book away, no matter it’s condition, (when you have dogs, nothing ever stays immaculate).
I currently work for a company called Cambridge Wireless, a leading international community for companies involved in the research, development and application of wireless and mobile, internet semiconductor and software technologies. I know, that is a mouthful and a lot to take in, trust me, when I first started I was like what…? But honestly, I’ve learnt so much during my time here and I’ve met some really cool people from companies such as Google, Amazon, Costa Coffee.
I’m just an ordinary 21-year-old who likes the occasional night out and a good Blue Lagoon pitcher at Spoons with my friends!
2. What is your fondest memory at Anglia Ruskin University?
Meeting some of my closest friends for the first time. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
3. What advice would you give to current students as they're preparing to graduate?
Spread your time out evenly. Always make sure that you have spread your time out evenly enough to focus on your essays and/or exams.
Trust me, I know how hard and daunting that sounds. I worked part-time throughout my time at university and it’s a killer, I know. Luckily, where I worked were understanding of my situation and that university would always come first before anything else.
Also, what helped me in my final year was creating note Powerpoint presentations that I could print out and scribble on, containing the most relevant of information, from book excerpts to website posts. It may sound excessive but they helped shoot my grades up, and I wasn’t browsing through websites constantly trying to find useful material as I had it all in front of me.
Also, attend your graduation as it is one of the most pleasurable, exciting experiences of your life. It’s so worth it!
4. What do you know now that you wish you had known whilst you were studying?
I would have to say the time juggling. God I wish that I had practiced how to juggle my time efficiently before moving. I know, saying that I should have ‘practiced’ time juggling sounds strange, but if I could go back, that’s what I would have done as keeping time is such a crucial part of your time at university. ABBA may think that time goes by slowly, but believe me, when you’re at university, time shoots past you at the speed of light!
5. How did your time at Anglia Ruskin help you?
Anglia Ruskin has helped me in so many ways. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today if it wasn’t for ARU, and I know that that sounds so cringe but it’s true. I wanted to challenge myself by moving away from London to a new part of the UK, (but not too far because I would have missed my family loads) and I fell in love with Cambridge and the university when I came to one of the open days.
Moving to a new city, into a new house (on my own) and living with complete strangers sounds daunting, and trust me it was, but being put into those unfamiliar situations changed my viewpoint on everything for the better.
I also wouldn’t be sitting here, at my desk, in my swanky office located in Cambridge Science Park if it wasn’t for the university as I actually found the job vacancy on ARU’s Employment Bureau website.
6. What did you love about your chosen course?
That there was so much more to the subject than met the eye. Everyone I knew referred to media studies as a ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree as they believed that all you did was study films and annotate advertisements, but once I told them exactly what I'd studied, they’d sit there with a question mark above their forehead asking me 'What?'!
Media studies = don’t judge a book by its cover.
7. What would you tell someone thinking of studying at ARU?
Go for it! As well as studying at a fantastic university that offers so much choice, you’ll also be studying in beautiful surroundings such as Cambridge, Peterborough or Chelmsford. ARU has helped shape me into the person that I am today and I believe that they can help shape anyone.
8. In one word how would you describe Anglia Ruskin?
9. Who was the biggest influence on your career?
Can I say my mum? Is that too cheesy?
My mum has been the biggest influence. My mum was quite young when she had me and my brother but that still didn’t stop her from going out and following her dreams. I’ve watched her work her way up in the career ladder and I couldn’t be prouder. From watching her, I know that it’s possible to achieve anything.
10. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
My degree, I actually have one!
11. What advice would you give your younger self?
Not to listen to the playground bullies and to be more confident in both myself and my work.
12. What drives you?
13. What’s next?
Stepping up in my role, growing as a person. Who knows, anything can happen.