We sat down with a post graduate Education & Training student who has totally immersed themselves in everything our award programme & wider university has to offer – here we ask them questions to gain a deeper insight into their journey with us.
Hi there, it’s great to hear how many different courses you’ve gotten involved with during your time at BCU! Can you tell us about what you’ve gained from each one & how this has helped both your professional & personal development?
“The BA Hons Social Studies course was what I undertook first at BCU, lasting 3 years. Coming from an underprivileged background in many aspects I felt a little out of place. This was in terms of language, the professionalism of students/staff/faculty in general, and some of the confidence and knowledge other students had compared to me. I really struggled with my English skills during this course, English is not my strongest subject, so I really struggled on how to be sophisticated and professional enough during assignments and seminars.
During year’s 2 and 3 was when I really started getting into the scene of university, it is also when I learnt about the different opportunities including Grad+, Careers, Centre for Academic Success and BCUSU societies. Through taking the different opportunities that these bodies gave I excelled in my assignment performances (going from 40s to 60-70s), I grew in confidence (started speaking up during seminars, involving myself in university events more, making more efforts in talking to class peers, taking on multiple work experiences). Ultimately, during these years I grew more confident and was more academically equipped and experienced for the next year.
Secondly, during the MA Criminology course I just worked to perfect the skills I already had. I went to more career meetings, undertook mock interviews, skills tests, psychological/social portfolio building activities etc. I learnt how to turn bad interview experiences into critical commentaries, and worked to turn these downs into skills that I can use for ups. I got my first official job during this year, where I had to maintain my professional standards during this whilst working harder on my assignments. I had already achieved my bronze, silver and gold during my BA course so I was excited when the platinum came along. I feel the Grad+ scheme adds that extra bit of connection to BCU in general, so gaining extra recognition via certificates and badges was something I looked forward to.
The PGCE-PCET Specialising in Humanities and Social Studies is my current course at BCU, and it is quite eye opening. I am in totally new waters in this course. It’s a new building and a new school/department. The tutoring methods and assignment marking methods are different, the facility is run differently. I had to adjust, maintain professionalism, and work on changing what I knew about BCU courses and allow myself to learn a new version of BCU.”
How many of our award levels have you completed & when did you achieve these?
“Bronze and silver were completed during Year 2 of my BA course. Gold was completed in the 3rd Year of my BA course, and finally platinum was completed during the MA level of my criminology course.”
During our interview you mentioned that by taking part in Grad+ you’ve been able to develop your confidence, which is so great to hear! Can you tell us more about that?
“As mentioned previously, through the opportunities Grad+ and Careers created for me and other students, I could speak more openly and academically during seminars. I felt more controlled and content with my academic/social abilities and learnt to build on these skills. I learnt how to make critical commentaries into good things. Most importantly, I learnt how to adjust and overcome my shyness and put wilfulness first.”
Out of all the online resources we have to offer, which one was your favourite and why?
“Potential.ly was my favourite. This is because it gave me a link to my strongest attributes. It showed me how this would enable me to perform better or worse in different situations. It also showed me attributes I could work on.”
Apart from your involvement with the award, tell us about the other BCU experiences you’ve had? We hear that you’ve been pretty busy!
“I am a SAL (Student Academic Leader) we work to represent the students on our course and provide feedback that can be used to make department issues better for future students. As well as this, I also registered for BCU ‘fun’ events such as glass and fire walking, although part of my bronze award, it was something to initially get me out my comfort zone.”
If a 1st year student asked your advice on the benefits of beginning their journey with Grad+, what would you say to them?
“I always suggest grad+ to students, I even urge my current course peers to take part in it. I feel that completion of the scheme gives a similar professional outlook to that of the Duke of Edinburgh award and therefore, rakes in more job and interview opportunities. As well as this, it’s a great scheme for those students who feel stuck in their dorms, new starters, international students, and those students who don’t have that BCU family connection feel just yet. The scheme offers more than just fun, it is progression, achievements, opportunities, networking and mostly importantly, the best of BCU facilities.”
You mentioned you have gotten involved with our Grad+ weeks across campus – tell us more about your experiences of these, what was your favourite bit?
“My favourite part was being involved in events that seemed odd or dangerous (fire and glass walking) and those events that allowed students to achieve more than just their grades (business, academical improvement, careers events) it is perfect for students who would not have been given this opportunity elsewhere.”
So, what does the future hold for you on your journey next?
“After my course, I am looking to further my experiences in my work field. I am looking to merge my degrees together and work in prison/court environments educating and developing the individuals I come across. I currently have opportunities to do this, and these environments are places I can definitely grow and work my way up in the ranks with experience and years. I am also hoping to do a PHD soon at BCU.”
Wow – what a truly transformational experience this student has had during their time at BCU, and it’s not over yet! From completing all 4 levels of the Graduate+ award, to getting involved with Careers+, BCUSU societies, representing their course as a Student Academic Leader and completing multiple placements! We love hearing your stories, all are different, but all have the same positivity in speaking about how helpful the BCU community has been to you in your professional and personal growth.
If you’d like to share your Graduate+ experiences with us please email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or message us via our social media profiles – we’d love to hear from you!