Where are They Now? Munya Chawawa
What did you study while at Sheffield?
Whilst at Sheffield, I studied Psychology – it was something I was good at during sixth form and something I felt could be used to capitalise on the plethora of social experiences at university.
What first attracted you to Sheffield?
I was drawn to Sheffield by its mixture of creativity and comfort. Creativity comes in the form of the university – exciting, bustling and trail blazing, an academic venue teeming with colour and activity. However, it often feels as though any good city comes with a mucky side – compartment of crime, pollution etc. – Sheffield doesn’t feel like that. It’s written in the facts: greenest city, safest city – it goes against the grain. Ultimately, you find yourself being pushed creatively, but in a comfortable setting.
Did you get involved in any clubs or societies while you were here?
I think we shall say I had a near-obsessive involvement with Forge Media! I came with a vision to become a media star – and admittedly, I am nowhere near yet. However – being a host on Forge Radio and presenter for Forge TV was a springboard of gold-medal-winning-British-gymnast proportions. I was also a player in the all-star, bicep-busting Sabres American Football club – and I can assure you, sport at Sheffield is stunning. It’s essentially a first-class pass to BFFs galore, so I would highly recommend it.
What are your best memories of Sheffield?
My best memories are from my third year – it was the success I always dreamed of it being. With the help of the university, I presented on the red carpet at the BRITs 2014, became a music presenter for PopShack TV and 4Music, and even became the first student in the UK to wear Google Glass to record their graduation. I hope that’s something that inspires all current and incoming students to dream big and chase hard.
What were some of your favourite things to do in Sheffield?
My favourite things to do in Sheffield were primarily food-based. Five percent of the time this was to eat away my feelings, but an outstanding 95% of the time it was because of the fantastic restaurants, cafes and pork sandwich shops scattered around the city. We eat to live – so living in a city where food is of the heavenly standard should be reason enough for anyone to come.
How aware were you of the alumni service, and do you think it is important to stay in touch with your University?
The alumni service is ever-present and ever-growing I feel; we’re constantly finding new ways to expand its outreach and impact, and that’s important – otherwise, who am I going to send all these free Beyonce tickets to?
What has the response been like following your graduation video?
The response has been fantastic. It’s felt like the perfect accumulation of my 3 years’ work. I began by battling the sceptics, transitioned into second year with growing support and have now finished with recognition from across the university. Hearing about how people have been moved to tears or watched the video on repeat is certainly a profound sense of fulfilment; I’m very grateful to the university for giving me the opportunity.
You have just won the @4Music's 'Vlogstar' competition, what do you see in store for the immediate future?
I hope to grow my YouTube presence – for me that means making more people laugh and having a bigger interaction with my audience. I think there is just too much bad news in circulation – and I want to start a gradual journey to battling that with entertaining videos crammed with good vibes.
What is your ultimate goal for the future?
The goal is to present on the biggest stages across the world.
What are you going to miss most about Sheffield?
I will miss good friends, good sandwiches and the exam season camaraderie and Kit Kat sharing on the 3rd floor of the IC.
What piece of advice would you give your younger self or other Sheffield newcomers?
The one piece of advice I will give is: stop mincing with diluted ambitions, define your goal and chase it unremittingly until not a single person can deny you are good at what you do.