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My journey to Sunderland

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Published: June 1, 2020

Hey, I’m Sebrina Fatz a 19 year old student at the University of Sunderland, studying Cosmetic Sciences. Attending university has always been a dream of mine, we won’t mention the influence of Elle Woods on my decision making- all you need to know is that when I was accepted to the University of Sunderland I was over the moon.

I have always been influenced by beautiful things, not least by my mother. She was an apprentice hairdresser and just about to open her salon in Poland, before taking the spontaneous decision to move to England to be with our dad. I would like to think I have inherited her eye for beauty, alongside all the other Polish genes.

There comes a point in every young teenager's life when they are asked to decide whether or not to attend university of course, I did but then the question of what subject to study arose. Just like every 17-year-old, I was obsessed with YouTube, in particular the beauty industry that has grown from the platform. I knew that the cosmetics and beauty industries have seen exponential growth in recent years, and I wanted a piece of it.

Before I knew anything about cosmetics, I showed interest in other aesthetic-related occupations. At one point I wanted to be a dentist, interior designer, dressmaker, but the most prominent one was definitely to become an architect.

What really consolidated my decision to study Cosmetics was my love for the Sciences in particular Chemistry. Cosmetic Sciences is the perfect combination of academia and design, which suited me to a T.


Oh, I forget to mention I’m transgender.

Just to clarify, being transgender is being assigned the wrong sex at birth and transitioning to your preferred gender. I was born male, but identify as a trans woman.

It’s definitely not easy being transgender, but we have come a long way in terms of medical expertise and public recognition. I officially came out as trans in February of 2020, while still in my first year at university. Being a part of Sunderland helped me accept myself and come to ease with who I am, it helped me learn that everyone is different and there isn’t anyone like me. Nevertheless, I felt as if I was supported through and through. The university environment definitely helped me become confident in who I am, and my future.

I started my medical transition in October, shortly after enrolling at Sunderland. My id card still says “Sebastian”, but everyone calls me Seb. The university was more than happy to change my name to Seb on my records, which made me feel much more comfortable. I am still in the process of legally transitioning, it’s a long process with heaps of paperwork but I hope to enrol into year two as Sebrina Fatz.

My friends have been extremely kind and supportive, I cannot thank them enough.

One of the many reasons I love the University of Sunderland so much is for how accepting they are. From personal experience, I can say that the University has been extremely accepting and helpful throughout my transition. But don’t just take my word for it, the university has an equality and diversity policy that ensures no one experiences discrimination. They also work with Stonewall to discuss the subject of equality in regard to the LBGT+ community. The University is further committed to tackling inequality issues with their key equality strategic themes which the University actively works on to provide an inclusive and safe environment for all staff and students.

Besides that, I was extremely impressed at how welcoming the staff and student ambassadors were when I visited the university for an open day. Later that year I became a student ambassador myself, helping students across the globe make the right decisions about higher education.

In the future, I would love to work for a cosmetics company, but I can’t stay in one place for too long so who knows where I may end up! There is one thing I know for sure, I will always live my truth and encourage others to discover theirs. Change is here, and I’m ready to be a part of the conversation.

I cannot emphasise how grateful I am to be part of such a supportive and inclusive university. For so many people, it is essential to feel comfortable and accepted at their place of study, and the University of Sunderland goes above and beyond in all areas. I would wholeheartedly recommend this life-changing university to anyone, especially my LGBT+ brothers and sisters.

Thanks for reading!

Sebrina Fatz


Topic: Student lifestyle