On the week where thousands of you lovely lot graduate, we’ll have a new feature every day profiling one of our ‘DS-DOers’ – students who have done something unforgettable with us during their time at university.
It’s not often you find someone who can juggle studying pharmaceutical science and being the chair of one of De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU)'s biggest societies – but that’s exactly what one De Montfort University (DMU) student has done.
Sacha Jones, 21, is the outgoing chair of the DMU Dance Society and is about to graduate with a 2:1 in Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science. And she threw herself into university life from the word go.
“After coming in through clearing, my first view of DMU and DSU was during Freshers Week,” she said. “So I threw myself into it, signing up for everything – and I haven’t looked back.
“The main thing I was looking for was a dance society, as I’ve been dancing my whole life, but I also tried out cheerleading and became one of the DMU Saints.”
But it was DMU Dance that properly took Sacha’s fancy. She explained it was the society’s ‘turn up, pay £1 per class and have fun’ mantra that really caught her eye – and that of hundreds of others over her four years at DMU.
“I become a dance teacher in the society in my second year, teaching beginner tap, advanced tap and Irish dance. In my third year I carried on teaching the advanced tap but stopped teaching the other classes to give the opportunity to others, whilst offering my support as they were new to teaching.
“But in my fourth year, I was elected chair of the dance society, whilst also teaching jazz, advanced tap, commercial street, pointe, plus choreographing and taking part in a jazz competition troupe and a tap competition troupe. I also covered for other teachers if they weren't available to teach their class, such as contemporary, hip-hop and Irish.”
So not much, then. And all while studying Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science!
Sacha has travelled to numerous places with the DMU Dance Society – taking part here in a tap display with her fellow members.
Sacha continued: “Try to go for a society or sports team right from your first year, there's so many people who joined in their second or third who regretted not doing so earlier.
“Take part in something new, have a look during the Freshers Fair and if something catches your eye, no matter how silly - go for it!
“There’s no harm in attending just one meeting, and if you enjoy it, you may just make lifelong friends who you otherwise would never have known. I’ve made so many friends who I will be keeping in touch with for the rest of my life who I never would have met otherwise.”
But after highlighting numerous high-profile performances – including in front of more than 20,000 people in the pouring rain at Welford Road and bagging the Society of the Year Award for two years on the trot – it’s time for Sacha’s university journey to come to an end (for now, at least).
“I'm so upset to be leaving,” she said. “I don't really want to, even though I think I'm ready to take a break from academia for a while!
“I'm still hoping to visit a lot next year, to keep up with how the society is developing and to support them in shows and competitions.
“I'm also so grateful to all of the help and advice I've had from everyone at the SU. I've spent hours in there just talking sometimes – which is just what I needed occasionally, and I hope others make use of all the help and aid available at DSU, not only for sports teams and societies but for all students.
“I’ll still visit the SU and the staff, who will have thought they won't have to put up with my face again. How wrong they are!”
Sacha with housemate and fellow winner Ehimetalor Unuabona? at The SULETS DSU Societies Awards 2016 earlier this year.
Sacha already has a full-time job at a pharmacy, but said her dream job is to become a research scientist. “I’m really interested in research where current treatment is inadequate or simply dated,” she explained.
“There’s a lot of new things coming in – such as nanotechnology – but unfortunately it takes 10 to 20 years for anything to come in properly after rigorous testing.”
But before that, Sacha said she is extremely grateful to the DSU team for helping her be her best. “I would like to thank Colina [Wright] for sitting with me for four hours maxing out the DSU credit cards and booking all of the #DMUglobal trips I'd organised!
“Also Tom and Dan especially [from the societies office] for listening to me whining and helping out as much as they can, whilst supporting me to be independently sort things too.
“Plus all of the DSU exec who have helped me throughout the years, especially Dan [Winney] who has helped massively this year and supported the society, and Amie [Chapman] who was always available if I needed to chat, and Adam [Redfern] for a laugh!”
And on that note, DSU would like to thank Sacha for all of her hard work during her time at DMU and wish her every success for the future.
You can read more stories from our ‘DS-DOers’ series here.