BuildForce February Blog

Hi everyone, I’m Leya and welcome to my first blog post. I have worked with BuildForce for over 2 years now and it has only been a very positive experience; Angela Forbes and Caroline Logan have been so understanding with allowing me to continue with the programme despite my very busy schedule. I used to work as office manager, managing registrations, emails and case studies and currently work as Digital Support Manager, uploading and editing when needed.

A bit of context about what I am currently up to as a student. Some of you may know that I am a postgraduate at Cambridge University, studying a MPhil in Planning Growth and #Regeneration. I did my undergrad in #Economics and the interest in land economy came through my job as a Research Analyst and through all of the BuildForce Insight Day events, which allowed me to network with a huge range of companies across the construction sector. Studying at Cambridge is unlike anything that I had originally imagined. There is this college structure that makes a lot of difference with the social aspect of your student life, as well as amenities across the library, gym, dining hall and facilities being specific to your college. I am at Darwin College, which is a postgraduate only college, where I have joined the rowing club, as well as the Cambridge Women in Business Society as college representative, in which we interact with the wider University. Along with being busy in these two societies, I regularly meet with my friends for dinner, we’re having the formal dinner experience and wearing the gowns with fine dining is definitely a bonus on a Friday night.

Life here is definitely challenging, but there are rewards and a process to figure it out. I am definitely the kind of student who likes to work in advance so I have time to count for unforeseen circumstances such as an assignment being particularly difficult, or technological issues. I’ve also learnt over time how to not increase my stress and not blame myself when there is high pressure in my studies. The best way I have found to handle these moments of increased stress is to go on walks, go into college and socialise with other people or even just have a tea with my flatmates, which I do so very often, and it definitely helps me feel calm and remove myself from putting too much stress on myself. I’ve also learned to understand and accept that there will always be points during the year that will be particularly stressful. Managing a full time degree, two jobs, whilst having a social life and looking after your mental health is hard, great, tiring but rewarding all at the same time. But it’s okay, because I am happiest when busy.

Overall, I am loving my Cambridge student life, it’s very different from London, which is where I am usually based, however, I’m really enjoying the differences and the much calmer environment.

Leya Ali