“Both Cardiff University and the city itself were so fulfilling and gave me opportunities that I never had at home. I loved my time in Cardiff and feel like it has shaped who I am for my future, both for my career and in my personality.”
Congrats to Cathy, music graduate and member of the BBC National Chorus of Wales, on her First Class Honours.
Hi Cathy! Thanks for chatting. What did you enjoy most about your time in Cardiff?
I enjoyed the vast variety of activities I was able to be involved with and experience with my friends, such as regular concerts, operas and plays.
I can imagine that the city offered you a lot musically. Do you have a favourite memory?
One particular concert sticks in my memory as a favourite experience while at Cardiff. In my second year, the Cardiff University Symphony Chorus, which I had been a member of since my first week, joined with instrumental forces from the Royal Welsh College and Drama to perform Verdi’s ‘Requiem’ in St David’s Hall. The piece is phenomenal and the accumulation of such hard work put in by both students and staff produced a real breath-taking performance.
What else did you get up to?
As a music student, there are many extra curricular activities to be involved with. I was a member of Cardiff University Symphony Chorus, Chamber Choir and Contemporary Music Group. I was also a singer with The Palestrina Singers of Cardiff University and became choir manager which I very much enjoyed. I successfully managed the choir’s week to week rehearsals and activities along with seven concerts during the year and a tour to the South of England (Guildford, Portchester and Romsey) during June 2014. I loved both the social aspect to singing with the choir and the challenges that came with organising it.
I was also a member of the BBC National Chorus of Wales for three years, holding a student scholarship for the year 2013/2014. I also volunteered at the New Theatre and casually had work at the Millennium Stadium, through the Union JobShop.
You busy bee! How easily did everything fit alongside your studied?
Time management is an essential skill. University work had to be my highest priority and doing it in advance (rather than the night before) was definitely preferred. Other than that, finding time to just have some time off was difficult but I found great enjoyment in the activities I did.
Did you face any particular challenges during your university life?
The hardest challenge I faced was fitting in with the people in my accommodation in first year as I lived with six boys and only two other girls. I felt it was difficult to be myself but found comfort in friends on my course and discovering people with the same interests as me.
What’s next for you, Cathy?
I am moving to London to study for an MA in Art Policy and Management at Birkbeck College, University of London.
What are your thoughts on graduation?
Excited but with a sense of nostalgia. As the majority of my close friends are remaining in Cardiff, I am still feeling a little apprehensive about leaving the city where I have spent the last three years of my life. However, I am very excited about beginning the next chapter of my life and feel graduation will provide me with the opportunity to say goodbye to a place I have grown to love and people I will miss greatly and a happy conclusion to my undergraduate degree.
Do you have any advice to future students?
Try and make friends on your course as well as in your accommodation. This has seemed pretty easy in the School of Music as such a small school with plenty of activities to be involved in and meet new people. However, I understand it is difficult in larger schools with many courses and students in one place.
Budget your money! I had minimum maintenance loan which hardly covered rent let alone cost of living. Budget your money and keep an eye on the non-essential spends.
And make the most of the city and surrounding area. It is a busy, metropolitan city with plenty to do, surrounded by gorgeous countryside and magnificent beaches. Don’t overlook it and try and explore.