Hello! My name is Maria, I’m proudly Mexican, and I want to introduce you to my journey at Cranfield University. My background is nutrition, and I decided to go for a Food Systems and Management MSc. I’m sure you are thinking now, “well, nutrition is about food, and food systems sounds like it’s about food “… in some respect, this is true, but coming here was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done.
In my first lecture, I discovered that almost all my classmates have a food technology background, which got me a little bit scared Food Systems and Management MSc is very technical; in the first module, we talked about crop breeding, carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids in a more chemical way. As a nutritionist, I know about these macronutrients, but physiologically. I mean, what happens in your body when you eat those delicious carbs and eat that muscle-building protein. Additionally, I realised that almost all my classmates have a food technology background, so I felt out of place. Listening to new accents that at first felt like impossible to understand and listening to new concepts in the lecture was overwhelming. But, believe me, after one week, you think the accent is no longer there, and as you study and deliver your assignments, you feel like an expert in the modules. I have been learning new concepts, listening to different ideas, working with people from other countries and trying to express myself in a different language every day since I joined Cranfield. It has been one of the most formative and enriching experiences I’ve ever had.
I’ve got to say that having the first meeting with the fellow Net Zero Scholarship winners group gave me confidence. I realised that there was a particular reason why we were selected and that there’s a group of people in the same situation as I am. Deep down, I knew that I had enough courage and capacity, but still, having this group of people supporting me and my fellows relieved my soul.
Another thing I can say that helped me adapt and feel free from all the school stress is to do exercise. Sometimes I go out for a ride on my bike; it depends on the weather as I am not used to these temperatures. I also rediscovered one of my childhood and adolescent passions – volleyball. Unfortunately, there were not enough girls for having a woman’s team this year, but anyway, I go to the training sessions during the week, and it’s awesome.
So, if I could go back in time and give some tips to myself before coming here, those would be:
1.- Don’t feel out of place; you will do great.
2.- Be patient and don’t stress out.
3.- There’s a lot of people feeling the same way as you, and you can rely on them.
4.- Don’t forget to exercise, it is vital for your mental health.
5.- Buy an appropriate jacket as soon as you get here, it will be freezing!