Tennessee Renvoize - A second chance at education
I’m really proud to be a DMU graduate because there was a time when I didn’t trust traditional education.
After being happily home schooled, I decided to go to college for my A-levels to stand the best chance of getting into university and follow a career in tech.
I didn’t fit the mold at college though, and I had a terrible time. I was a dedicated and good student, but I was considered to be ‘too outspoken’ and I clashed with the head teacher. I ended up leaving before I could complete my A-levels.
Despite my bad experience, I knew that having a degree would open doors into the tech industry. Not many universities take on students without A-levels, but thankfully I found DMU’s Foundation Year in Computing, which I was able to join with just my BTEC diploma.
With my college experience ending in my hospitalisation, I was starting university with newly-diagnosed health conditions. DMU was really supportive from the start though and made the adjustments I needed to perform my best.
My foundation year made me feel like I wasn’t an academic failure. It was a second chance at education. We had a brilliant tutor who really pushed us and it’s also where I met my best friend, Dom.
He also had a tough time at college and we both wanted the same things out of our university experience, so we kept each other motivated. Dom was my number one cheerleader and shoulder to cry on through my four years at DMU, and he’s still my best friend now.
When I progressed onto the Computer Science BSc (Hons), I was taught by some more amazing tutors.
Sarah Wilford was incredible. Her personality and confidence were inspiring to me, as those were the exact reasons I didn’t fit in at college. Being taught by a successful woman like her was a great inspiration and made me feel like I could be my authentic self and still achieve amazing things.
Clinton Ingrams made me feel like no question was ever too stupid and he always showed so much belief in me. He shared so much industry knowledge through his module, which made me feel confident that I could get a job with the skills and experience I gained on my degree.
I probably wouldn’t have gotten my graduate job as a software engineer without everything he taught me.
One of the best things I did at university was to volunteer as a Code Club ambassador through DMU Local. I got to teach local school children how to code and helped to prepare them for the FIRST LEGO League. Our group took second place in the regionals and it was a really rewarding experience.
At every interview I went to for a graduate job, they asked for examples of extra-curricular activities, so I could see that my volunteering experience was a key aspect in securing my graduate job.
Also, my employer is holding a ‘girls in engineering day’ for local school children and thanks to my DMU Local experience, I’m helping to organise and run it.
It feels good to be inspiring the next generation of women into tech.