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From ‘average’ student to First Class Graduate!

Matthew NealeMatthew NealeBangor University Creative Studies graduate, Matthew Neale had never imagined he could succeed at university. Describing himself as an ‘extremely average’ student, Matthew had no intention of furthering his education after leaving school – until a family holiday brought him to North Wales and he fell in love with Bangor University.

Convinced that Bangor was the right place for him to study, Matthew set about working hard in his exams at school in Switzerland and got the grades he needed to win a place at Bangor. Three years later, he is the proud recipient of a 1st Class Honours degree.

Matthew, 22,  said, “When I first considered attending university I did not have a clue what to study, in fact I was so uninterested in the idea of taking classes for another three years that I nearly did not apply to any universities at all.

“I was an extremely average pupil at an International School in Switzerland, and was told that it would be unlikely that I would do well enough in my exams to attend a good institution. After visiting Bangor University, and realising that it was the place I wanted to study, I knew I would have to pull myself together and work hard in my exams.”

After passing his exams and gaining entry to Bangor, Matthew took up a BA Creative Studies degree.

“The Creative Studies course presented many challenges over the three years of study, all of which helped me to work to my highest potential.

“Thanks to the focused structure of the course the support from great lecturers, such as Dyfrig Jones and Andy McStay, I was able to achieve so much more than I had ever hoped for in the form of a 1st Class Degree.”

During his first year Matthew suffered a serious head injury which required life saving surgery, but despite the set-back he remained committed to his studies.

He explained, “During the Easter break of my first year I celebrated my 20th birthday on a night out with my brother and friends. That night I accidentally fell and hit my head, causing me to require emergency surgery, which saved my life.

“Two weeks after the surgery I returned to university, determined to complete my first year, which I did with only a couple of weeks delay. The experience taught me to take greater care of myself and my surroundings, and it was key in helping me become a more mature person and to make the most of the opportunities given to me.

“During my time at Bangor University I made some of the best friends I could have hoped for and experienced so many new things. I had a great time hosting a radio show on Storm FM with one of my best friends, Liam Newman, and enjoyed being a Senator in the Students’ Union. They were three years which I will never forget, and which have made me who I am today.

“Thanks to the great experiences which I have had at Bangor University, I have decided to carry on with my education after being offered a place for an MSc at Manchester Business School.”

Publication date: 13 July 2011