Sunday did a Masters in Critical Theory at the University of Exeter. She now represent students full-time as Vice-President Postgraduate in the University of Exeter Students’ Guild.

I originally came to university because I wanted to escape an abusive household. The government were offering me a loan, and Exeter was as far away as I could get on the train, carrying all my things. I gave little thought to my course. All I knew was that I needed to escape my background, and a good degree would facilitate that. However, once I got here I started to get involved in university life, societies, student media and academic conferences. I realised that I’m not here just to survive, I can thrive, too. I really feel like both academic and professional services staff genuinely care about not only my studies, but also me as a person.

Being at the University of Exeter suddenly opened access to a support system I had never had before. My first term I did what I always did to survive – bury myself in work – and my mental health began to suffer. When my personal tutor recommended I go along to the Wellbeing Centre I spoke to a professional for the first time about the abuse I had experienced at home. They referred me to a psychotherapist and as a student, this was completely free. Had I not come here, I may not have had the support I needed to fully heal and move on with my life. I was so grateful for how much the university helped me that I ran, and was elected, for a position in the Students’ Guild so that I, too, can help others reach their potential.