Margaret Hubbard: story of an education professional
Margaret Hubbard is about to finish her degree in Early Childhood Studies (ECS) after a rocky start, here, she blogs about her very personal journey toward educational success.
Margaret Hubbard is about to finish her degree in Early Childhood Studies (ECS) after a rocky start, as the student who was by her own admission sometimes late for lectures.
Here, she blogs about her very personal journey toward educational success.
Beginnings of an education professional
My story starts with me as a child, obviously! Even as young as 5, I remember attending parties with my mum and being the child who would go to all the tables and gather the children to play games together.
Fast forward 16 years and I find myself — almost unbelievably — about to finish a degree at University of Northampton (UON) that is a natural extension of me as a child.
Finding the perfect university course took months. It was hard making the transition from studying 14 subjects in secondary school, to three subjects in college, to just one subject in university — which I had to commit to for three whole years.
My first instinct was to Google search all courses relating to children. After comparing and contrasting the different modules in different universities, I chose to study at UON because they had the best Early Childhood Studies degree modules that I had researched. I also read a lot of good things online about studying this at UON. Also, if I’m going to be honest, I hate exams because I believe they are not an accurate reflection of knowledge on a subject; rather a reflection of information retention and regurgitation skills. Seeing that there were no exams for Early Childhood Studies at UON and just like that I was sold!
Studying — and singing! — at UON
Being a part of the first group of students at the brand new Waterside campus felt like history in the making and I’m proud to have been a part of its ‘debut’. There were so many resources and staff on board to help me with whatever my concerns were.
Especially all the events, the societies, the facilities, the open environment — everything about the University brought life to the quiet town of Northampton. I loved it; truly, it was a privilege being there.
Early Childhood Studies was the best course for me. It was fun, active, creative, inspirational, mind bobbling at times but fairly straight forward. I love how my lecturers could turn topics I struggled to engage with — like law and policy — into a drama class. I love how we can go from talking about a serious topic like inclusion, and then start singing and dancing to ‘I’m Going On a Bear Hunt’! I love being creative, so having the opportunities to take part in so many fun, creative workshops that relate to the study, was my favourite parts of studying early childhood studies. It motivated me to come to every lecture!
I’ll be honest here with an admission! I used to come to class late, didn’t always complete the set tasks during break, and started off writing my essays without thorough research or even a plan, four or five days before the essay is due. I was still learning that no one was going to push me to do work… I had to do it myself.
It was a steep learning curve. At first I wasn’t making the effort to use my Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) and didn’t really know what a PAT could be used for. Now I’m in my final year, I can honestly put my hand up to say I’ve taken full advantage of my PAT these last two years, and it has greatly helped me get much better grades.
The advice, the encouragements, the insights, the support, all of it! It all added up to making me a better student. Through my PAT, I was encouraged to put more effort into doing the set breakout tasks and reading all of those extra links that are put on NILE (the integrated, online learning platform used at UON) for the session. I was also encouraged by my lecturers to read a wide range of books. Honestly, I only took this on board in second year, and that’s when I started to see the growth in myself and my work. I was shocked by the number of relevant books that were available in the University library.
Also, I turned to my faith and I honestly feel this also helped set me on the right path. My ‘switch up’ from a lower grade to A grade student was not just by my might or willpower, but I feel God also showed me the way.
My professional, academic and personal growth in my university journey is a testimony. I am a living testimony — which you have all witnessed.
Placements and more
Placements were also another thing I loved about early childhood studies, as I was able to be in real classrooms and participate in their daily activities for weeks. It was so fun being able to go to work and play the majority of the day, come home and reflect on the day. Every time placements ended, I always wished they didn’t. They helped me grow professionally and personally, as I was put in situations that I had never been in previously and was able to reflect on events I’ve never imagined happening.
The ultimate, best thing about coming to the University of Northampton was that I was able to go on the Erasmus+ exchange programme to the Netherlands. This was absolutely life-changing! I was able to play with and learn music, drama (my favourite creative subjects), art, creative theory and creative lab.
I believe that everyone should study Early Childhood Studies modules as a general life course. This course is the study of human development and all its influences. I learnt so much about myself and how my childhood is the foundation of who I am today — a talented, creative, playful learner. It made me such a better person when I truly understood that every ‘unique child’ grows to be a ‘unique’ adult.