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Penelope Morcillo, alumna, European Studies

Penelope Morcillo's book “Shake Before Use” has been a catalyst for her to take full responsibility of her life and realise a big part of life’s purpose is to help others

I chose LSBU for several reasons one of which is because it’s located in the heart of central London and I was able to talk to a professor from the course I wanted to join in order to better understand how the degree was configured and how things work within the university. All this gave me a lot of extra confidence in choosing LSBU, due to the fact I came from Spain and I was not familiar with the UK education system.

For me diversity was something I was missing from my previous experiences back home and at LSBU I loved meeting people from other cultures. In fact, being at LSBU helped me to rethink many of my own prejudices and stereotypes. Looking back, LSBU helped me better understand the world. I was working while I studied so I learnt to manage my time really well. I actually recommend this to everyone because you’ll develop time management skills, and will still have time to hang out with friends.

Empowering professors

The lecturer I remember the most is Colin Tucker. He was my tutor and guided me through university. He was supportive and always checked up on me, especially during my first year when I needed it the most. I really am thankful for all the professors and support staff that had faith and confidence in us students. Sue Mastel, the administration person assigned to my European Studies program, was extremely helpful with students who were flustered and in a hurry to get the correct paperwork.

I felt extremely empowered and proud when I was searching for my first job after I graduated (in 2000) because people saw the value in me and it made me feel confident about my degree being from LSBU. I went back to Madrid for the summer and decided to look for a job there, after a week of searching, I found one with a telecom company.

No regrets

I believe that everything happens for a reason so I have no regrets, I have felt sometimes that I was wasting my time in certain jobs but I was comfortable so I kept working. However, writing my book “Shake Before Use: A basic guide for how life works”, has been a catalyst that has allowed me to take full responsibility of my life and career and not waste any more time.

I wrote my book because one morning about three years ago, I woke with a revelation that a big part of my life’s purpose is to help others. I had just overcome some significant challenges in my life and had sought understanding about why I felt so stuck and lost, after learning how to make changes in my life, that particular morning I woke up and realised I could help others do the same – in a tangible way!

It’s not easy doing something you aren’t familiar with, many times I felt like giving up, but writing the book felt like a responsible thing to do in order to pass onto others all the insight and practical exercises I had collected throughout the years that help you to stop existing and start living.

Difficult days

For me, career satisfaction means having a meaningful, creative and challenging work life that allows me to earn a decent salary to pay my living expenses, travel, and have enough time to spend with family and friends. There are a few things that keep me motivated one is learning to improve myself in order to become a better “Me”. Equally. I want to benefit others to overcome their life challenges.

I think it’s important to have mentors as you can learn so much from other people, one of my mentors was a retired person in his 70s who combined was both; a highly successful businessman and a deeply spiritual person. He guided me to make sense of my life.

I’ll be honest, before I wrote my book, fear was totally ingrained in me. I was stuck and experienced a lot of stress and anxiety. Insecurities and lack of confidence were part of my daily life. The good news is that every day I understand myself better and work on my development. I still have difficult days and fear may trap me again, but I know to take a moment and assess the situation and how I feel.

You're not always going to be right

My advice to others is to remember that nothing that other people say about you matters -  trust in you! Believe in yourself and get ready to do the work, whatever it takes. Also, make sure that you are in an environment where people encourage you to strive for your dreams. You are not always going to be right, but if you fail just get up again – as many times as you need to.

Advice one of my mentors gave me: if you have to choose between something easy and something difficult, choose the difficult one. You will learn more, because easy means “I know how to do it” and difficult means, “you don’t know how to do it, yet”.

I want to leave a legacy where I help people to be happier through education. I want to create a better world for future generations to live empowered lives.

Giving back to others is especially important because in the end what matters is the people. We need to learn to work together, respect each other and build a more compassionate and kind world. Belonging to an alumni body that helps others and gives back provides a lot of satisfaction from being part of a community that really cares for people – I’m proud to have received my degree from LSBU.

You can contact Penelope by email or follow her on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

You can also visit Penelope’s YouTube page and website.

Penelope’s book “Shake Before Use: A basic guide for how life works” is available on Amazon.