Today we sat down with a final year student who has made the very most out of everything Graduate+ has to offer... let's go and meet them!
Hi Laura, it’s great getting to chat with you today! Tell us what course you study & what year you’re in?
I’m currently in my final year here at Birmingham City University, but I am coming back to do my Masters. I’m studying Psychology with Criminology.
How many of our award levels have you completed? Also, did you have a favourite?
I have completed bronze, silver, gold and platinum. I’d say for me my favourite was definitely platinum because I felt like I could look back and see what I had achieved to have got to platinum, and It felt so rewarding.
What originally made you interested in starting your Grad+ award?
I originally became interested in Grad+ when one of the advisors came into a lecture and did a short talk. I think I just became so interested in the things you could do and the skills you could gain. After I decided to go to the Grad+ office and have a chat and get a bit more information, the rest was history before I knew it, I completed my bronze and was popping back to pick up my badge and certificate.
With all the online resources we offer, which one was your favourite to use and why?
For me it was practicing psychometric testing because its key for me to have those skills to get a post graduate job and practicing has definitely made me way more confident for when I do go for jobs because I’ll be prepared. The star technique has been so helpful also because I was able to use it when applying for my masters and at the interview stage, there skills that I’ve gained for life and are already proving so helpful.
Apart from the work you’ve done with Graduate+, what else have you done within BCU? We’d love to hear more about your BCUSU society!
Where to start, I’ve had so many great opportunities given to me at BCU, which have helped me so much in my first year I was so quiet and nervous, I feel like I’ve grown so much from getting involved at university. Setting up the MHFA Society was amazing, Laura gee and Anisha raj initially had done MHFA training which was free within the psychology department and had begun to run a peer support service for students experiencing difficulties with their wellbeing. The service was to help students and let them know about things such as the Big White Wall and the counselling services. From there we decided to create a society that all students could be a part of and to create a safe place where its ok to be struggling and lots of students could come together to raise awareness about mental health. We also do lots of volunteering for different mental health days, I used this as part of my Graduate+ award. The society has really taken off and it amazing to see so many students wanting to raise awareness about student mental health and actively change the stigma that surrounds it.
What advice would you give to a new 1st year student who is interested in starting their Grad+ award?
I would say be brave and take every opportunity there is, you will be surprised how much Grad+ will change you as an individual. Encourage your friends to do it to, me and my friend did it together and it was great to hear what they had been doing to gain their award. I’d also say go to the office to get more information if you’re unsure, when you reach the end of each stage you will feel so amazing. For me now that I’m at the end of my undergraduate, Grad+ was one of the best things I ever did, it’s helped me to meet so many new people and it looks great on my CV.
Did you get involved with our Grad+ weeks? What were your favourite memories of these?
Grad+ week was one of my favourite things about graduate plus. My favourite memories were walking on glass, I was petrified but I did it and it was so rewarding and I did it with my friends too which made it more of a memory. I love the diversity of graduate plus week, I took full advantage of them all. I’ve done things such as retrieval of a hanging body, to resuscitation and academic round table talks. I’ve even been to sessions to improve my academic writing and CV, they have all in some way improved my skills as a whole.
Finally, what does the future hold for you Laura, what are your plans now going forward?
I will be returning to BCU in September to do my Masters, I will then hopefully go on to do my PhD. I never thought it would even be possible for me to get to this point and definitely taking on every opportunity like Graduate+ has moulded me into the person I am today.
It's hard not to be inspired by Laura's story, from starting a BCUSU society to getting involved with every aspect of the BCU community, if she can do this, you can too! If you'd like to speak to us about your story please get in touch with the team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have a chat!