Student Stories: Bethan (Part 1)
Education Studies student Bethan talks about the range of Northampton services that improved her experience at uni.
My story to higher education isn’t straight forward. I chose the University of Northampton as I previously had a bad experience at another institution, and as Northampton was close to home I was very comfortable starting here. When Waterside Campus first opened, I loved the concept and how modern it was, with smaller seminar classes; this was one thing I loved and has highly benefited my learning. It’s not just the way classes are taught but also the environment, I feel comfortable in my surroundings and I feel that Waterside Campus is my safe place.
Prior to enrolling I investigated the modules and entry requirements and found they fitted my needs and applied through Clearing. Furthermore, the staff were welcoming, loving and passionate about their role. They remember your name, your style of learning, and you connect through different ways inside and outside the classroom.
BA (Hons) Education Studies has enabled me to explore multiple disciplines. Since studying Education Studies, I have changed my mind from wanting to become a primary school teacher to becoming a youth offending officer or juvenile detention centre teacher, supporting young adults to benefit from their experiences.
This course for me has brought back my confidence, passion and motivation to do well. All my lecturers, especially Kyffin Jones have shown me it is okay to speak out and say wrong answers if you learn why and how they are wrong. I added a lot of philosophical aspects to my evidence and answers last year as it was something I understood very well, however, this course has allowed me to broaden the scope of my knowledge.
Since beginning this course I have overcome a lot of mental health difficulties, the main skill I have learned is to be brave and courageous. I used the on-campus counselors where you can either book an appointment or just walk-in and this helped me in my first year a great deal. I now have the confidence to raise my hand in a lecture, to talk to people on the student information desk, order my coffee and ask for help. Some of these conversations are deemed easy to have, however they aren’t for me. My skill set has increased during my time at UON and I am becoming more independent and I have several people to thank for that.
Academically it has taught me to explore and proof read my assignments, as you write in a different style to A-levels, I need to proofread to make sure my assignments are fluent and flowing when my audience is reading them. I took advantage of the services offered by Changemaker to help me improve my essay writing skills.
At university you are encouraged to research more widely around the subject which for me has included visiting Parliament with another course and talking to professionals in the contextual situation. Not all research has to be internet based and you are encouraged to think outside the box and display your work in a way that expresses you as an individual.
I haven’t quite decided where I want my career to take me once I finish the course. If I’m honest, my mind changed every day when I was studying at my Sixth Form, I had a 5-year plan to become a primary school teacher. However, I would love to work in youth offending and helping young adults to support themselves through education. However, working within a prison excites me too, I want education to be an escape for young adults and help them proceed in their future.
To help me achieve my goals, I have been doing external activities as well as my degree. Furthermore, I am a Course Advocate, Peer Mentor and Lacrosse referee and these are all external roles that show communication, technical and organisational skills to a future employer. My degree itself will show my motivation and determination, but I will be completing a masters in youth offending or Special Needs students, and this will help me reach my end goals. Changemaker Hub will also be a very beneficial place to help me get in the right working environment.
If you’re considering studying at university, attendance is very important, my attendance was low for one module last year and this heavily affected my grades. Turning up to seminars allows you to bond with not only your peers but your lecturers too. You can expand your learning, gain more confidence to speak out in lessons which in turn will benefit your assignments.
Group work, when you are not paired with your friends, can take you out of your comfort zone, but branch out, meet new peers and communicate with others. Trust your lecturers, have a laugh and a joke, they know you academically and personally and can help with any problems. Use all the resources given to you, when reading back feedback on your assignments, (yes read your feedback) write it down and go back to it when writing another to help you only go up. Changemakers offer academical help, and you can always make appointments if you feel uneasy.