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Student Natasha kneeling on the ground holding a board that reads 'I AM Apprehensive'.

Natasha Longshaw

Product and Furniture Design BA (Hons)

Natasha made a gut wrenching decision to change her university course after just two weeks when she realised it wasn’t right for her. She was incredibly apprehensive about dropping out and applying through Clearing as the academic year was already in full swing, but she’s now settled into life in Birmingham doing a course she loves and has a clear vision of where she would like her career to go. 

“I’m from a really rural village and I was so desperate to live in London that it resulted in me applying for a course I didn’t really want to do. Unfortunately it was mainly mature students on my course, so wasn’t the atmosphere I was hoping for - I felt like I was at a very different stage in my life to all my course mates. I didn’t enjoy it there and as desperate as I was to be in London it didn’t make sense to continue studying on that degree. I realised it was more important for me to really enjoy my course and look at building my career in London after graduating. So two weeks after the start of my course I decided to drop out of my original uni and find something new through Clearing.  

I hadn’t heard of BCU until I was researching courses through Clearing, but I came across the Product Design degree and really wanted to apply. I had studied this at sixth form and really enjoyed it. I was extremely apprehensive that no other university would take me as the academic year had already begun, but I contacted the course leader to see if there were places available, and he explained the process of how I needed to apply through Clearing.

I was pretty stressed as I had to drop out of a course I had just begun and move all my stuff from London. However once I spoke to the BCU team, they advised me on how to switch my student finance over as well as the steps I needed to take to complete my application. I’m so grateful BCU let me in although the course had already started.

I’d never been to an Open Day at BCU so I really was coming into the course and uni blind but I absolutely love it here. The facilities are so modern and I love the access that we get to other facilities across all of the University’s buildings. I’ve also really enjoyed being able to experiment with and explore other media such as ceramics. My course tutors are really supportive and let me know that they had specific workshops that I would be able to attend to help me with elements that I felt less confident in.

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I was quite nervous on the first day as obviously everyone had already started together a few weeks ago, but after my first day I felt so relieved and settled. I did miss Welcome Week but it’s not impacted me being able to make friends as there’s so much else to do outside of that initial start. My course mates here are amazing and it just feels like a great family unit. We’re always there to support each other with deadlines and assignments.

Birmingham is ideally located, it’s still so easy and fast for me to get to London to visit friends or enjoy the city. Birmingham is also great as it’s so much cheaper. I couldn’t afford the accommodation in London but can in Birmingham. This will really benefit me further down the line financially as I won’t have as much money to pay off.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my university experience so far. There has been a lot of opportunities given to me, and the skills I have gained help me to produce work that I’m extremely proud of. Additionally I’ve met lifelong friends that encourage me to work my hardest!

I now know I really want to go into design journalism as researching iconic designs is something that I am passionate about. However I have also thought about going into teaching. I’ve been able to make some great connections through my course and I’m hoping over the next year I’ll be able to secure an industry placement that will really benefit me.”

Natasha has some great advice for making sure you’re on a course you’re passionate about and that it’s ok if your original plan doesn’t quite work out.

“Trust the process and remain positive! The advice I would give, is definitely do a course you enjoy. Although it seems so stressful to drop out and switch, it is extremely worth it! There is no point studying something you aren’t passionate about. I also would say that although it might not have been in your original plan, that doesn’t mean it wrong. I hadn’t heard of BCU until I was searching Clearing, and although I was set on living in London I’m now so thankful I switched.”