Amy-Foster-blogFinish your GCSE’s, go to Sixth Form or College, then go to University at 18 and get a job. That’s the route way people expect you to take isn’t it? In reality, that isn’t the exact order that everyone follows – and it wasn’t the order that worked for second year Criminology student Amy Foster. She shares her journey to BCU.

When I finished Sixth Form with grades higher than I expected, I decided that the course I was originally going to study at uni wasn’t for me. I knew that it wasn’t something I was passionate about and felt as though I would end up dropping out or spending three years feeling unmotivated and upset with my choice. That’s why I decided to go to work and gain some skills and experience whilst figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I ended up getting a career doing something that I really enjoyed, but not something I could see myself doing forever. Speaking to my colleagues about this I was given two conflicting messages – stay and climb up the ranks, or find out what I was really passionate about and go for it!

Obviously I chose the second option, otherwise I wouldn’t be here writing this today! I put a lot of time and effort into figuring out what I want to do and decided to apply to BCU to start the journey towards my dream career. Now that I am a student I would recommend studying at university to anyone of any age looking to get into their dream field, but I did have some concerns prior to starting – things that may be worrying you too. Here are a few followed by what I’ve learnt about them through my experiences:

“But what will I do about money?”

Coming from working 9 to 5 on a salary, this was my biggest concern. There an option of part time study where you’re still able to work almost full time whilst receiving a student loan for your tuition fee, however this was not for me as I wanted to study full time. I applied to SFE for a Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan and since starting uni I’ve worked part time to continue to gain new skills and experience as well as helping me pay the bills!

“Going to uni would be a massive change, what if I don’t have enough support?”

The idea of starting uni after not being in education for a while is very daunting – but once you’ve started you’ll see there’s so much support out there! You will have a Year Tutor and Personal Tutor who will be more than happy to offer you advice and support about anything you need. There’s office hours for all of your modules to receive guidance from tutors, and if it’s something none of those can help you out with, BCU also has an amazing Student Services department who can help you with pretty much anything!

“But what if after putting in all that effort to get a degree I still can’t get a job in my dream industry?”

This was something that absolutely terrified me when I started uni, but fortunately BCU is very committed to employability. Through the university’s employment agency you can find flexible part time jobs at the uni, gaining new skills and doing all sorts of things – even some you’d never imagine yourself doing! You will also be supported if you decide you would like to volunteer and many courses offer placements so you can gain some experience doing your dream job whilst still learning!

Studying at BCU has definitely been the best and most fulfilling year of my life; starting later than traditionally expected and coming in with a mature and experienced outlook has helped me achieve more than I ever thought I would in such a small space of time. It is an experience I would recommend to anyone and my biggest tip is to never let anything get in the way of what you can achieve.

Turn your dreams into reality this September – places are available on courses through Clearing.

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