Posts tagged: first year

Year one (almost) completed! #StudentDiaries #SalfordSmart

24 May 2017

Anne share the ups and downs of her first year at Uni

So as I sit here this morning, working on one of my final first year assignments I cannot believe how quickly this year has passed. From the giddy excitement of last September where I skipped into uni with my new backpack and pencils, keen to make new friends to cold and wet December feeling frazzled and overwhelmed and then into Spring feeling inspired and reinvigorated following an amazing first placement.

I’ve been frustrated when the shop increased the price of a Freddo from 25p to 30p (I remember when they were 10p!)

I feel like I have gone through every gamut of emotion in the last few months. I’ve sometimes sat in lectures feeling clueless and frustrated but that’s made me go home to learn and understand what I’ve heard and then other times I’ve been in lectures that have been so powerful they’ve brought me to tears with a message that had resonated so strongly with me, it made it difficult to control my emotions.

I have at times found the uni life frustrating, I’ve been frustrated that we have to pay for parking (I’m sure I’m not alone here!), I’ve been frustrated when the shop increased the price of a Freddo from 25p to 30p (I remember when they were 10p!) and there have been other situations that have made me question myself as to why I made the decision to come to uni. A major wobble in the middle of the first semester caused me to speak to the student advocate who assured me my feelings of doubt were normal “first year issues” but it shook me nonetheless.  It was the first practise placement that cemented my decision to retrain as an occupational therapist, I’m still thinking about this placement 3 months after it finished as it had such an impact on me.

Frustrations aside I have had some great times in my first year, the practical sessions are definitely my favourite part of it, I’m a hands-on person so I get more out of these sessions and I’m really pleased to have gained new skills. I’ve also got to know some of the people on my course pretty well and have had a real laugh with them, which always helps.

I’m now looking forward to a break over the Summer to recharge my batteries as I already know that the second year is a gear up. I’m nervous about this as the first year hasn’t been a walk in the park so I know that I will need up my game even more if I’m going to do well.

What would I tell a newbie first year student?

That’s a difficult question….. if I was talking to an 18-year-old straight out of college who had no major responsibilities I’d say get yourself involved in everything you can, clubs, societies and social life – really go for it and enjoy the experience before it gets really hard but do turn up to lectures!!!

If I was talking to a mature student, who’s possibly already spent a significant chunk of their life working, they may have a mortgage and kids to juggle I’d say try to enjoy your experience but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t quite live up to the giddy heights you built it up to be. It might be a steep learning curve and you may feel your confidence take a beating in the first couple of months but hang on in there, take any bit of feedback and guidance offered to you, if you don’t understand something ask and make use of the resources the uni has to offer. Oh, and do visit the Student Union at least once in your first year, they make a mean pizza, the beer is cheap and you need abit of balance in your life!

Who am I?

16 September 2016

anneIntroduction to our first student blogger!

My name is Anne and I’m a 38 year old wife and mother and a full-time mature student about to embark on a degree in Occupational Therapy.

“I felt like I was being pulled in a million different directions but with no clear direction of my own.”

I actually questioned who I was 2 years ago now, when I was sat at my desk at work whilst eating a soggy sandwich over my computer with barely even enough time to go to the loo.  I felt like I was being pulled in a million different directions but with no clear direction of my own.  It was this question that made me change my life, leave my job and become a full-time student.

“Having not studied for nearly 20 years I was worried that I might not cut it at college, I felt vulnerable and out of the loop. “

The first stop for me was completing an access course.  Having not studied for nearly 20 years I was worried that I might not cut it at college, I felt vulnerable and out of the loop.  I felt like I was institutionalised from being in a job for so long but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  College was fantastic and I loved every second of it!  I learned a lot, challenged myself and made some fantastic friends.

“College was the perfect preparation for uni because it taught me skills such as how to manage my time, how to research correctly, referencing skills and working with others.”

I approached college as my full time job, it certainly wasn’t a doss to me.  I was only in 2 days a week but on the days that I wasn’t in I worked at home.  I studied, I read and I made sure that the work I produced was the best it could be and without blowing my own horn I was thrilled when I gained my results because I had smashed it.  College was the perfect preparation for uni because it taught me skills such as how to manage my time, how to research correctly, referencing skills and working with others.

“Age isn’t a barrier to me, I’m learning all the time and processing new things and while I’m learning I feel young.”

I should probably say that to be honest I really hate the term mature-student, it really gets on my nerves and is not a label I like.  Age isn’t a barrier to me, I’m learning all the time and processing new things and while I’m learning I feel young.  But nonetheless I suppose that’s what I am, some of the people on my course were probably born the same year that I started working, I could even be the same age as some of my classmates mums however I really feel that I’m on a level-playing field because I’m at the same stage as all of my peers – we’re all at the start of a journey.

“I feel excited about starting the course but there are a couple of things I’m worried about”

With just over a week to go before we start the course, my feelings right now are of pure excitement with a suggestion of nerves.  I’ve already met some of my cohort at the DBS check so it was really nice to see some friendly faces again and honestly I just want to get stuck in.  I feel excited about starting the course but there are a couple of things I’m worried about such as finding the correct rooms and making sure I can get to them on time.  I do not want to be turning up to lectures late so that’s where my time management skills come into play in the mornings, making sure I get 2 children up, ready and out of the door in time!

“I know that this will not be all plain sailing”

I feel positive and have belief that I can do this.  I’m also incredibly lucky that I have a brilliant support network of family and friends who are all rooting for me.  I know that this will not be all plain sailing, there will be bumps along the road, I’ve got to juggle childcare, adapt to new routines and at times I’ll struggle but I’m looking forward to the challenge.  I’m hoping to support my peers and in return learn from them and really make the most of the tools that are around me.

One thing I know will happen to me is that at some point I will get mistaken for a tutor, it happened regularly at college where 16 year kids would say “Miss – are you a tutor?” which my mates ribbed me for endlessly, but what can I say I must have an authoritative tutor vibe going on!!