The Gateway Challenges Funding is a one-of-a-kind funding, in my opinion. When I was told about the funding last year, I wasn’t sure what I would be allowed to use it for, but I eventually found out that it could be used for almost anything as long as it helped me in some way in my personal or professional life. The graduate gateway program, as a whole, was a wonderful experience – listening to speakers from different backgrounds guide, motivate, and inspire us each week during the gateway sessions that took place at Murray Edwards College. When I finally had enough credits from attending the gateway sessions, I was informed of the possibility of acquiring funding to spend on an interest over the summer. And after a week of contemplation over potential summer activities, I ended up applying for a funding to skydive.
Skydiving has been one of the things that had always been on my bucket list of things to do. But since skydiving generally does tend to be expensive, I had been putting it off until I graduated or until I could save up enough. However, soon after I had finished my Master’s examinations, I was told that I had been successful in my funding application and that I was going to receive Gateway funding to partly fund my expenses towards skydiving.
Soon I booked myself for skydiving at the North London Skydiving Center, about 30 miles off of Cambridge. I took a train to March on the day, and cycled about 10 kilometers to the location. I normally would have expected myself to be scared but I found myself being extremely calm and yet very excited when it was my turn. There were a few other people who were going to skydive on the same day as me, and at around noon that day, about 6 of us and our instructors got onto a small aircraft, and started our ascent to about 13000 feet above ground. I was the first person to jump off the aircraft, and as I was pushed to the edge, I found myself looking down and grinning at the ground that I was going to soon fall towards. It was a once in a lifetime experience of falling down under gravity, and eventually making our way back to the ground in a parachute, passing through clouds.
I couldn’t be happier about having done this as this was been my first solo adventure, and I’m sure there will be a lot more to come – thanks to the Gateway Funding that allowed me to try something new.