For me, Solent is all about the people.
Six years ago, on a rainy November morning, I woke up terrified. My alarm didn’t go off and I was going to be late for my interview. It was the first role I got an interview for that I really really wanted.
I got ready as fast as I could, I didn’t have any coffee, I didn’t even have time to do my hair and had to fashion a quick high bun. By the time I arrived at the reception, the same reception I pass by every day for the last six years, all the worries and stress I had for a week were just gone and I walked in with a ‘nothing else can go wrong now, f**k it’ attitude.
That was the first time I’ve met my then boss and now an amazing friend Chris (who yesterday put together my TV stand as my DIY skills are laughable, nicest man I know) and Caroline, our lovely manager.
In the four years I worked in the Research and Information Unit I’ve learned a lot, I’ve grown and I felt loved and appreciated. Most significantly I made friends for life.
I met my bestie, the most amazing person I’ve ever known Sheba, my Jaba, who gives the best hugs in the world and Mark, Jamie, Sally, Helen, Lou, Emma and all the choir people and of course one of my favourite humans, our choir leader Dan.
About two years ago I left Solent to try something different. I was bored of doing the same thing for four years and I was desperate for a change. I’m not gonna go through everything in detail but after three months I quit, the following day I flew home to say my goodbyes to my dying aunt but I was 10 minutes late and the day I came back home, in Southampton, my boyfriend broke up with me.
I was a mess. Absolutely and utterly devastated. The worst part was that I didn’t have a job. I temped for a while but the money wasn’t enough. Until a job came up at Solent, a fixed term, well paid job I could actually do, so I didn’t have to start from scratch, I wouldn’t have been able to handle it with everything else that was going on in my life that period. I had hit rock bottom, the lowest I’ve ever been.
When I walked through the doors again after four months it immediately felt like home.
I’ll be eternally grateful to my colleagues and especially my manager Suzanne for the support and the love I felt the first couple of months in particular, when I was in such a bad state I’d burst into crying at my desk. She has been more than just a boss to me, even though she won’t admit it!
The last two years have been incredible. I ‘ve made great friends,my favourite Northerner mamma Donna, Miss Holiday and ray of sunshine Linda, my brother Andi, Suzanne and Matt, Sati, Andy, Mike, Syed, Sarah, Denise (love you Denise!), Jo, Lorna, Alex, Rob, Osama and many many others, it will take a whole post to list everyone.
Some of my most precious memories were made at Solent or with Solent people.
The best bunch of people I’ve ever met. A great big family who care for each other. It sounds cheesy but it’s true.
And not just at personal level. Not many realise how important work support staff do. There is this notion that Universities are all about teaching. Of course it is important but teaching alone is not enough.
We get frustrated and disappointed from time to time but we do our best for the University because we really care. We keep the systems going, we make sure the students have their timetable on time, we offer the best support we can when it comes to Finance, assessments, IT, personal problems and the list goes on.
Over the last six years I watched the University grow, our new building the Spark being built and now in full use, I spent many lunch breaks enjoying the delicious food at the Deli and the Dock, I’ve seen films for £4 at the lecture theatre through Sonar film, I helped with the graduation, I volunteered for the Open day, I worked overtime at weekends, I had a laugh with my team of students calling graduates in the evenings, I danced until my feet hurt at the legendary Staff Scene Christmas parties and until this day, even at the worst of times we have a laugh every single day.
I may leave Solent at some point but it will always feel like home.
And this is why I #loveSolent.