How work experience helped me gain a place at university

My name is Nikos and I'm currently studying Journalism at London Met. This is my story of how running my own music website allowed me to return to education and join the University.

Date: 9 August 2019

Let me start by saying that I’m lucky enough to have known that I wanted to become a journalist ever since I was 10 or 11 years old. So, everything I was doing after I finished school was to get me a step closer to my goal – and my goal was to become a journalist. 

I'll be honest with you – I wasn't an excellent student in my younger years, not at all. My grades were disappointing. I'm not here to talk about my school performance though, I'm here to tell you that besides grades, there is another essential element that can help you achieve your goals. That element is persistence.

I can tell you many stories on how persistence led me to where I am today. However, I’d prefer to tell you a story about a Greek music website and how it helped me to become a Journalism student at London Metropolitan University.

Back in 2013, Greece's unemployment rates were extremely high. I was one of the unemployed young people who were victims of austerity. Disappointed by the absence of job openings, I decided to do something on my own. I created a music website. It was an idea that combined my passion for music and my passion for writing.

When I first started the website, the stats were disappointing and no matter how hard I felt I was trying nothing seemed to make it improve. After six months of continuous work, I felt disappointed and ready to give up. However, that was the moment that I realised that Breakroom (oh yes, that's the name of the website), meant something more to me. It wasn't just a music website. It was my chance to make something that would be meaningful and something that I could be proud of. 

I decided to spend more time writing news stories, conducting interviews and writing concert and album reviews. It was a full-time job without a salary, but that didn't matter because it was fulfilling and it was the thing I loved to do the most.

Today, after six years, Breakroom is considered one of the best music websites in Greece. I now manage a team of more than 10 people, and even if I don't have seven hours to spend on it, it is still an essential part of my day. Even if I have a full-time job, even if I'm studying at London Met, Breakroom still holds a special place in my heart.

So, I guess you want to know how all of this has helped me to become a Journalism student at London Met? 

As I said at the start of this blog, I wasn't a very good student. When I finally decided to come back to education, I checked the entry requirements at London Met and I my grades weren’t even close to what was needed. That didn't dishearten me though because when I was filling out the application, I realised that despite the fact that I didn't have the entry requirements, I had working experience – working experience that I owe to Breakroom.

That small website I started back in 2013 is the reason I am able to study at London Metropolitan University today – or you could say it's the main reason. That website helped to make my dream of studying Journalism come true.

I was lucky enough to apply to a university that values not only school grades, but personal achievements and working experience as well. I'm also fortunate because I have tutors who believe in me, who always push me to give more and who want me to become better and better. 

My advice? Be a good student, but keep dreaming. However, whatever you do – do it to get a step closer to your goals. Do something that fulfils you – something that makes you happy. It's not just a job you’ll be aiming for. It's something you will do for many hours per day for many years of your life.

So, make sure that you are happy with it. Finally, never stop believing. Dreams can still come true – I’m proof of that.

"I was lucky enough to apply to a university that values not only school grades, but personal achievements and working experience as well."

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