Manuela Detomaso, Italy
MSc Business Analytics: Operational Research and Risk Analysis
Class of 2016
Several months have passed since my arrival in the UK. Sometimes, thoughts go back to the first week and its magic atmosphere. Everything seemed to be new: buildings, people, streets and restaurants. A whole new world waiting to be discovered.
During the induction week there were multiple opportunities to meet people. Conversation corners and BBQs organised by the Students Union, tours around the city, visits to museums and through the campus.
However, one unique and special event was organised by Alliance MBS – the residential trip to Brathay in the Lake District. For me that represented a turning point of my entire experience here at the University, not only for the all the fun and the fantastic adventures we have gone through, but also for the people that I met and that have become some of my best friends. In fact, the motto that real friends can be recognised during hard times was never truer than in that occasion.
The School gave us the possibility to spend a couple of days at the gorgeous Brathay on Lake Windermere, a spectacular setting in a pure natural environment. Although some students might have expected to be engaged in relaxing walks in the forest and pleasant boat trips on the lake, the reality certainly went beyond our expectations. Everyone was asked to undertake a number of activities based on physical and psychological strengths, as well as building trusting relationships with all other members of the assigned group.
We started with the boat trip on the lake, 6 of us without any previous experiences in sailing or rowing. It seemed to be real fun at the beginning; however things turned out to be less enjoyable when we ended up in the middle of the lake with no idea on how to come back. In that moment, it was really important to rely on teamwork.
Another important activity consisted in passing through a giant rope ‘spider’ web. Everyone had to pass through holes of different sizes without touching the ropes. We joined our abilities to formulate an agreed strategy based on recognising people better suited to fitting through the high or low holes. It was really a great fun and I was really surprised by how we could elaborate a quick and successful strategy.
After the giant spider net, we all had to climb a steep wall. While three people at time were climbing, all the others held the ropes. When I was climbing, I suddenly stopped half way. I was exhausted and I felt that the way to the top was too long, so I just wanted to ask my groupmates to pull me down. However, in that moment my dear friend Nav, who was climbing the wall next to me, encouraged me not to give up. He told me that I could not stop after all my efforts to arrive at that point. So we continued our climbing side by side and reached the top together.
A few months after that day, I was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of workload required by my course and again, like at Brathay, I could not see the top of the hill, but just the hurdles I met so far. My dear friend Nav came again to me and said, “Do you remember our trip to the Lake District when you stopped in the middle of the wall? Well, in the end you could climb that wall and you were even faster than me! So you can climb this new wall, we all can do that together!”
I would say a very big thank you to my dear friend, because for the second time his words helped me to succeed and to learn values such us trust, perseverance and courage.