Iona graduated from Aber with a degree in Geography in 1995.
What do you remember most about your time in Aber?
It's a cliche I know, but I'll never forget Penglais Hill. Aside from keeping me very fit, there was the incredible view from the footbridge near the top of the hill, where you can see right across the town below and out to sea. The physical environment of the Welsh Coastline made it a wonderful place to live and study. I have fond memories of walking up both Pen Dinas and Constitution Hill and along the coastal walkway to Clarach at all hours of the day and night! My time in Aberystwyth was the first opportunity I'd really had to meet and socialise with many people from all over the world, from different cultures and speaking different first languages. It was the first time I'd experienced a bilingual environment, and had great fun trying to wrestle my tongue around many new and quite lengthy Welsh words. I also met my (now) husband during my first term at Aberysytwyth, almost 20 years ago!
What are you doing now career-wise and how has your Aberystwyth degree helped?
At the moment I'm taking an extended career break, whilst home educating my 4 children as we spend a decade living down-under and exploring the antipodes. Career-wise, I've been engaged in a variety of different planning roles across various market sectors. You may be left wondering how my BSc (Hons) in Geography relates to any of this. My degree was really a spring-board which provided me with a wide range of useful skills; and most importantly, adaptable skills which have proven invaluable both in a range of professional roles and in achieving other life goals. The strong analytical and organisational skills I developed have been essential in my working life. I've also been able to draw directly on the experience and knowledge I gained while studying for my degree and apply these to the education of my children. There is nothing like standing on the top of a volcano cone and being able to explain the geological processes that formed it, experiencing a 7.1 earthquake first-hand after learning about their mechanisms over a decade earlier; or watching a tsunami approaching the coastline (from the safety of cliff, of course) and turning it into an impromptu lesson. Without doubt, my Aberystwyth degree sparked a passion in me, that goes beyond just earning a living and provided the motivation to go and experience more of the planet!
What advice would you have for a student doing your course now?
Follow your interests! You'll be more successful and motivated in life when you are excited by what you are doing. The world is a fast-changing and full of challenges and opportunities that you may not have anticipated. Do think about your strengths and the skills you'd like to develop further. There are so many opportunities available as part of university life in addition to academic ones. University it just the beginning - you never stop learning!