My Bittersweet Edinburgh Award Experience

It is every students dream to be recognised by his or her school for doing something good. I looked towards receiving 2 Edinburgh awards from the University of Edinburgh for doing what I love (working in my job role, and representing students in my little way). But things didn’t go as I expected.

I ended up receiving 1 award, even though I spent hours upon hours working towards receiving 2. Before I tell you my story, I’d love to tell you what the Edinburgh Award is:

The Edinburgh Award is a programme that Edinburgh University students can undertake alongside a particular activity. The Award aims to recognise students involvement in these activities and enhance their experiences.

Edinburgh Award Edinburgh University image

Anyone who successfully completes the task required to be honoured with the Edinburgh Award will receive both a certificate of recognition from the University and an entry on their Higher Education Achievement Report (HEARs).

Even though a certificate or recognition matters less than the experience or the impact you make in a particular activity, it’s still a nice thing to be recognised for doing something good.

My Edinburgh Award story

After I finished with my business at Eastern Mediterranean University, I came to Edinburgh University to study Mechanical Engineering and Management.

They say it’s one of the top 30 Universities in the world, but I can say it’s filled with very brilliant students and I’m glad to be here.

Edinburgh University image

During my first year, I decided to be a class rep. I knew it’d be a rewarding experience because I was a class prefect back in High school and the experience taught me a lot.

I was also glad being a class rep presented me with the opportunity to be recognised for representing students by the University.

I went to every event and “completed” every task required to be recognised by the University for representing students…until I screwed up in the last stage.

I was emailed with tasks required to be completed in order to be recognized with the award.

Edinburgh Award for Class Reps final activities for input 3 email subject image

But I made a very big mistake. I didn’t read carefully, so I missed completing the most important tasks, even though I thought I had completed everything.

I knew something was wrong when I wasn’t invited for the award ceremony, so I emailed the organisers and that was when I learned the truth.

However, I got to receive the Edinburgh Award for work experience, and this was my solace

Giovanni Olakunori Edinburgh Award invitation image


My experience was rather rewarding, as it left me with various solid lessons. I’ve learned that even though I receive more than 20 emails a day, I should always pay close attention to the details in those I find very important. I shouldn’t assume I know the main message an email is trying to pass as this can prevent me from reading through the lines for important details. This and many more lessons I’ve learned as a student at Edinburgh University would stick with me forever.

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Giovanni O.C Olakunori

Giovanni is an entrepreneur at heart with a lifelong desire to be of valuable service. He started LarnEDU—during his teens— over 6 years ago as a way to provide free educational resources for students from West African Anglophone countries. LarnEDU's focus expanded over the years and today the website has served millions of visitors from over 90 countries across 5 continents and has become a hub to encourage learning. His hobbies include weight training, running python codes, visiting nature, and creating content for the web on areas relating to fitness, enterprise, philosophy and education. Feel free to read more about his story here and connect with him on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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