Steff Hanson

Media and Communication BA (Hons)

Education hasn’t always been easy for Steff, who has autism and often struggles with self-belief and confidence. When Steff chose BCU as her place to study, arrangements were put in place so that her support worker was able to attend lectures and seminars with Steff, and be there to support her throughout her degree.

“Whilst studying for my BTEC I was assigned a support worker, Madeleine Slater-Vaughan. I’d had a rough time with support workers before I met Madeleine, and I immediately had my guard up when I first met her. But when I realised that she was going to be able to help me, it was so refreshing. When I told her that I wanted to go to university, I asked if she would come with me.

I really liked Birmingham and there is just so much to do across the city. I went to the BCU open day, and just knew it was for me.

Moving to Birmingham was the making of me. It was such a huge change to go from the countryside and having my parents do everything for me to the city centre and having to deal with everything myself. But university life comes with a lot of challenges, so having her there helped a lot. Sometimes I lacked self-belief and would feel swamped, but Madeleine would help me break things down.

It is so important to have someone there to help you and I always felt like I could go to Madeleine about anything I was going through. Having her there was the difference between getting my degree, and not.

Since graduating, I now manage social media for an audio company, as well as creating content for my YouTube channel, acting and playing music. I chose my course because I didn’t want to do something that could limit me. Media jobs are hard to get, so I wanted to learn as many different skills as I possibly could.

I struggle to control my emotions and suffer with anxiety, but BCU opened up my horizons and the city was my playground. I was concerned about processing information in lectures and I would find it really difficult to take notes when the lecturer was talking and be able to process the information at the same time. It was great to have Madeleine there for me so that I didn’t feel like I had to do it all by myself.

I was used to having a support worker before going to University so it didn’t faze me, but others may be afraid to ask for support. The help is there for you, and it allowed me to have experiences outside of my comfort zone.

BCU helped me to grow tremendously as a person, improve my skills set and navigate the world.”