Laura Asnong

Laura Asnong

BSc Geography with Study Abroad

1. What has been the highlight of your time at Exeter?

Some of the best experiences during my time at Exeter have been from getting involved in a variety of societies and making friends with people outside my course who share the same interests as me. I have particularly valued being part of ‘Footlights’ – the largest musical theatre society on campus. Performing in their professionally produced musical productions of ‘Evita’ and ‘Singing in the Rain’ on the Northcott stage in front of sell-out audiences is something that I will never forget. Another highlight for me was being on the Dance Society committee, where I was responsible for choreographing one of the dance pieces that competed in a variety of different competitions. It was a privilege to be on the committee and I was incredibly proud to watch other dancers perform my routine to such a high standard. Although not directly related to Exeter, by far the highlight of my university life was studying in Australia for a year as part of my course. Studying your degree subject abroad is interesting in itself (in terms of the modules on offer and the teaching methods available), however when combined with an extensive amount of travelling, living independently with a 12-hour time difference and engaging with people from different cultures, studying abroad was undoubtedly one of the best experiences of my life so far.

2. What will you miss the most about University?

I will definitely miss Exeter as a city in general, I already miss the greenness and quaintness of the city centre compared to the hectic lifestyle of London. I’ll really miss all of my university friends who have made my Exeter experience even more amazing and unforgettable, but I have no doubt that we will all keep in touch and make every effort to make even more memories together.

3. What did you enjoy about your particular programme?

I really enjoyed the variety of modules on offer within my course, and the flexibility of taking modules outside my degree title. Within Geography, this enabled me to focus on Physical Geography modules but also take up Human Geography modules that provided me with a well-rounded knowledge base. Although doing a dissertation is often viewed as the hardest and most stressful piece of coursework, it is actually really rewarding to focus on one piece of work for an extensive amount of time that you’re extremely interested in. As much as I hated it at times, I also loved it and became really passionate about something which prior to university I didn’t even know was a big issue. With any Geography degree I think the most enjoyable parts are the many field trips, and I am very grateful that I was able to go to Brazil undertaking research and seeing parts of the country that I otherwise would have never seen. As already mentioned, I really valued the opportunity within my degree programme to go abroad, especially as you’re able to learn about different issues relative to that specific country as well as global issues from a different country’s perspective.

4. What advice would you give to current and future students?

I would definitely say take advantage of any opportunity you have, whether that’s a placement year, studying abroad, or becoming an active member of societies. You don’t really realise at the time what these opportunities may lead to, or what skills they might provide you with for the future until you’ve done them. Make sure you get involved as much as you can, and don’t wait until final year to join societies. I was in competition teams for Dance Society and Cheerleading as well as in Northcott shows and I still had time to study in my first and second year. If you’re committed to your extracurricular activities, it’s definitely possible to balance them with your degree. My main advice would be don’t let them slip until you have to (i.e. in final year). Although I didn’t do this myself, I would say try and plan early in terms of your future career. It definitely helps to know what types of jobs are out there so you can see which modules and experiences may be beneficial to you. Try and take on internships over the summer and do as much work experience as you can, not only because it looks good on your CV but it will really help you decide what you do (and don’t) want to do in future life. Above all, enjoy it! University is such a unique experience and it goes by way too fast, so don’t leave in final year wishing you had done more.

5. What are your plans now that you have graduated?

I have been very fortunate to have been offered a job within Ofgem, the energy regulators for the UK. I’ve been working within the Wholesale Markets team for a month already. I am currently a Policy Analyst working primarily on Brexit and focusing on how the organisation can coordinate and structure its Brexit strategy. My role currently involves creating innovative Project Management tools to track progress of all those involved in Brexit, promoting the Brexit work throughout the organisation and to our stakeholders, as well as working on how codes and licenses may need to be changed in a ‘no-deal’ Brexit world. I am really enjoying the work so far, but in the future I would like to explore a career in environmental consulting as this is more directly related to Geography and the environmental issues that I have enjoyed learning about for the last four years.