Samriddhi Tandon is a second year Law student at the University of Liverpool.
Back in secondary school, Samriddhi used to think of student success purely in terms of “getting good grades”. All of this changed, she says, in September 2021, around the time she started university. “I still want good grades,” she explains, but admits she no longer measures her education solely in terms of final results: “I want to learn things, I want to expand my knowledge”.
The other key thing that has changed, for Samriddhi, during her time at university, is that academic success is no longer her standalone concern. Her involvement in the Liverpool Legal Society and Bhangra Society have been instrumental to both her personal and professional development - complimenting her lectures and work experience.
Being successful, for Samriddhi, is about aiming for academic achievements whilst also “working, socialising, and working on my physical and mental health.”
Samriddhi’s new definition of student success takes into account her overall wellness alongside her grades, and she’s not alone.
A 2020-21 report from popular UK student forum The Student Room (TSR) listed positive emotional associations alongside practical considerations and employability statistics as the top 3 reasons students have been choosing their institutions since the start of the pandemic.
Similarly, UNESCO’s 2021 paper, Thinking Higher and Beyond: Perspectives on the Futures of Higher Education to 2050, continuously highlights the importance of “wellbeing and sustainability”, stressing “the wellbeing of the Earth” and orienting students towards “justice, solidarity, and human rights”. And, instead of mentioning careers, the paper also re-images the idea of a lifelong vocation as a life project which doesn't just pay the rent or look good on a CV, but rather “strengthens individuals, their families, communities, and humanity.”
This emphasis on both individual and collective wellbeing has also been noted by a growing number of nonprofits, education consultants, and universities in North America. At the start of 2019, EAB (formerly the Education Advisory Board) stated that “for students, success consists not just of good grades and steady progress toward graduation, but a holistic sense of fulfilment.”
For Liverpool final year Tsun Kiat Ang, who goes by the name Jack, student success is precisely about this kind of holistic fulfilment. Success, for him, is about a mindset, developing an attitude where “you’re trying to beat yourself constantly, to get better and better.”