Esther Mukundgi is a 22-year-old Lifestyle and Fashion Blogger from London. After a tedious and difficult 3 years studying at university, on the 9th of July 2015 Esther finally graduated with a BA in Tourism Management at Staffordshire University. We caught up with Esther to find out more on her university experience, the times she wanted to give up; and her advice to those currently at university or thinking about going.

Catch the highlights and video interview below:


Transcript of video interview:

1/11. What is one random thing a lot of people don’t know about you?

“When I was about 14/15 I wanted to join the army, I started up my training but I didn’t go along with it because my mother literally started crying and she was like don’t do it you’re going to die and all of that, she just blew it out of proportion – but yeah I wanted to join the army.”


2/11. What was your experience moving away from home to university? 

“My experience moving away from home wasn’t that much of a scary thing because the year before I got the opportunity to move away to Florida so I already had the experience of moving from home. Moving to Stoke, obviously the area is quite quiet compared to London and compared to other places I’ve been to, but I think it is a great destination – I mean location for anybody who is willing to study – there is less distraction.

The only fear that I had moving to stoke was that it just looked really, really, really boring and I just thought to myself why am I here and that was my first impression. I wasn’t that homesick, I was just homesick when like – pretty much when like – sometimes I would be homesick, if I didn’t go home for too long then I would be homesick and if like I didn’t have any food and couldn’t be asked to cook.”


3/11. What was the hardest thing about going to university and studying? – What did you struggle with the most?

“If you’re not careful and you haven’t set goal on what exactly you want to achieve and what you want to do, you’re going to end up following other people’s pace and you’re going to end up failing because everyone’s race is different. Some people work slow, some people work fast – you work your own way, you have to figure out a method that works for you.

When I came to uni obviously all my friends work at a different – completely different pace, how I had to overcome it was that I spoke to my lectures and they said to me ‘you’re first year looks kinda you know – you need to fix up’ and then they said to me get a diary – which is common sense and write down the things that need to be handed in. They just sort of helped me plan out my week and then I just basically stuck to that every single week.”


4/11. What are some of the things you enjoyed about university? 

“Obviously the academic side of it, being able to apply different topics like business, entrepreneurship, media, accounting, tourism so I think its all allowed me to – if I go into a field I’m able to use the skills that I have used, how I’ve applied it into a profession. I’m able to apply those – those things that I have learnt after university.

You’ve also got the social life. I was in the ACS the first two years of my university and also like sports and stuff like that. I joined badminton for two weeks and I never went back. Skiing for three or four weeks and I just never went back.”


5/11. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt whilst at university?

“The biggest lesson I’ve learnt at university is that everybody is not your friend, just because someone smiles at you, just because you can chill with somebody, or you see them at you know a party does not mean that they are your friend. It does not mean that they wish you well, does not mean that they care about you. University is like a bubble, everybody is here to study and some people are just here. Some people are here to look for husbands, some people are here to look for wife – you’re here to study, do your studying and just get your degree and just leave. Some people just don’t come with the same mindset as you so that is what I’ve learnt at university, and not everyone cares about you it sounds mean and harsh but its true.”


6/11. How do you deal with negativity?

“I stay away from it. I’m not the type to fight, to argue or to confront someone about anything unless we’re like really close.”


7/11. What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“My mum would always say I wasn’t born with somebody. If I wanted to do something and I was like oh my friend’s doing it or but that person is doing it, she would be like well you came to this world by yourself so you don’t have to do something just because someone else is doing it. That’s one of the biggest advice I’ve always kept in mind, I always told my friends as well – like all of my friends I would be like ‘well you were not born the same time as that person so what they do should not concern you, and what you do should not concern them.”


8/11.  What is one thing affecting the youth in a negative way in your opinion? 

“The main problem affecting the young generation today is social media. It’s a good thing but we’re also using it as a negative thing. We  look at other people’s live and we choose to believe that what life should be, no. Social Media allows us to filter our pictures, so we are able to filter our lives, what we put out on social media is our lives so if I’m able to filter it and take it from a different angle and make it look great  – then obviously its all fake. So if I see someone else’s picture up there and I’m thinking ‘oh my God they’ve got this life, they’ve got this life’ It brings up depression, anxiety and people feel like they’re life is crap when really and truly – your life is not, their life is probably worser than yours.

How we can overcome it I think is just to use is as a tool to improve in life. Like Facebook, I’m able to connect with all my friends from around the world – I think that is a positive of using it, some people just abuse social media and it affects them and the people around them.”


9/11. What in your opinion is your greatest achievement so far? 

“My greatest achievement so far in my opinion obviously has to be completing university because it was not easy for me, everyone who knows me. The amount of times I wanted to quit, the amount of times I just wanted to leave with like half a degree – like a HND but yeah I finished now its kinda scary.”


10/11. What is your advice for those currently at university or thinking about going?

“Some way make people want to be around you, don’t always be there like if there’s a party you don’t have to be there. Sometimes stay at home, sometimes read your book or you know just Netflix. My friend the past two years has been Netflix, I have friends but anything that came up – its not everyday I have to go out, cos I get annoyed being around people – like my house mate never ever saw me. They probably saw me twice a week or once a week, why because I was always in my room and I just prefer that. You’re not going to be involved in no drama, cos there’s always drama, always problems, somebody said this, somebody took this persons partner. Stay away from it, focus, focus, focus.

Come up with a method that works for you, either for exams, writing up an assignment or presentation. Come up with a method that works for you, don’t copy anyone else, don’t settle for anything. Don’t also be afraid to change career paths. I hate it when people say you should only focus on one thing, um yeah don’t be afraid to change career paths because you are still young and you just never know what can come out from anywhere. You could try something and not like it, then go try something else and not like it and think I actually enjoyed the one before.”


11/11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?


“Where do I see myself in 5 years time, oh God… okay. In 5 years time by the Grace of God I’m hoping to at least [cos I haven’t been back home yet – which is Congo, I haven’t been able to go back] so I would be hoping that during this 5 years time I would be able to go back home, and also do couple of volunteer work. Alongside with that, maybe work out there for a bit that would be great. And also just hopefully start half way or all the way to getting my first – it sounds so weird saying it but basically my first house. Hopefully by the Grace of God, only he knows.”


To connect with Esther, please see below:


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