COMMENT: University life a choice not regretting

University may not have been an easy choice to make, but over the past year, it has been a decision worth taking.

Life as a first-year degree student has been a different kettle of fish than first thought; tonnes of support, forming new friendships and best of all, learning in an ideal and comfortable environment.

Although nervous of what to anticipate back in September 2016, receiving these beneficiaries has made learning at Post-18 level an enjoyable journey so far.

The convenience of the location is also second to none, providing the opportunity to study in the comforts of your own home, one major reason for choosing University Centre Peterborough ahead of other more established institutions.

Even though the Multimedia Journalism course could have included other additions in its first year, understanding the core skills, plus the impact of modern technology on the industry, as made me want to pursue my aspirations of becoming a sports journalist even more.

On top of this, the level of teaching and guidance could not have been any more efficient in striving to achieve one of my personal goals in succeeding at university, with the added benefit of learning from a miniature class size.

It’s these reasons that I hope to continue making progress as a trainee journalist.

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Year One in FE: What went well and what can be improved?

During my first year in further education, there was a specific aspect that went well personally, with others needing to be improved for the following academic year.

One area that was successful was independent working. At the beginning of year one, I felt that I required more advice and support on the different tasks and independent study. However, as time progressed, so did my ability to complete assignments and achieve deadlines without a large amount of help. I was able to do this through developing my understanding of the tasks and used my ever-growing journalistic skills to complete the work at hand.

An improvement that can be made is the level of focus during lessons. During most sessions in year one, I seemed to feel easily distracted and not draw my maximum attention to the task/s. Although I still gained my personal targets, I feel greater success could be achieved by being solely determined on doing the best I possibly can in my final year at college.

Team working and co-operating within a group was another weakness that I think needs to be improved. When in group activities and discussions, I felt uncomfortable when sharing ideas to people I did not know. However, I know that socialising is an important skill to have in nearly any situation, which is why I feel interacting with others can be a personal long-term benefit.

In terms of organisation, I feel I could complete assignments before the deadline. By doing this, I would become more time-efficient and able to manage other tasks more capably and simultaneously.

How can further education life be managed?

Whether you are currently studying in further education or not, students tend to either remain on their course for the allotted time period, or drop out before they have really got started. So how can student life be managed properly? Dan Mason explains.

According to last year’s figures, approximately 86% of students were satisfied with their course, a 1% increase from 2012 and 2013. However, roughly 1 in 14 students quit higher education less than 12 months into their course two years previous, a contrast in satisfaction rates.

You may have already known these statistics, but did you know what the reasons are for this? I spoke to Imogen Goult, a current Post 16 student at Cromwell Sixth Form, on how to cope with certain aspects of student life: “You’ve got so much of it (work) to do that you can’t really cope properly.” Goult also stated the main challenge of managing student life: “Managing your time is quite difficult to be able to prioritise work.”

Prioritising your work is one thing, but managing your time efficiently is another, which could prove the difference between staying on and leaving your course. But if given too much work, according to the sixth form student, it can be a struggle. “It’s stressful. You get set a lot of homework but the teachers think it’s okay to set homework on top of coursework.” Although the workload may become a lot to handle, stress can make you feel panicked, which is never a good thing, so organise a schedule for when and how long to do a piece of work for on a regular basis.

Teaching standards may be affecting student capability with their course, but in 2014, 86% of students felt that teaching had improved when learning. In comparison, 2% of respondents were strongly dissatisfied with their course. In order to remain interested with your course, try to be engaged and focused in your lessons, as you may be able to cope better with independent study and with your lecturer.

Whenever you are having a tough day at the office, it may be a strain to ask for help from your peers or your lecturer. If this is the case, always ask for assistance, whether if you need advice on how to approach a task or to ask a general question about the work, hearing a second view is always relieving.

Using available learning resources is also important when studying your course, as they can be the difference between succeeding and failing, so use them wisely.

Further education can be a deep struggle to cope with sometimes, but using the resources around you and trying to succeed rather than fail can make student life much more easier to deal with.