We spoke to Mollie Zacarias, a second-year BA (Hons) Education Studies student to find out what she gets up to on a typical day.
BA (Hons) Education Studies Student
I’m local to the city of Birmingham so I live at home with my parents and travel around the city via train or bus. From the area that I live in, the train station and two bus routes are right on my doorstep. I can choose to get either to campus, depending if I’m rushing or not. It takes me about an hour to get to City South Campus in Edgbaston.
Time on Campus
A usual day at campus for me is starting at 9am and finishing around 2pm. Every year the timetable changes. For my second year I have lectures/classes three days a week and we have an hour’s break from 11am to 12pm.
Our lectures, tend to not feel like a traditional lecture in a lecture theatre as we have our weekly classes in classrooms and the room has a typical classroom layout in either rows or groups. The environment feels more inclusive and less traditional than why you might think of as the typical university lecture.
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Apart from lectures and classes, I occasionally study in the library on campus sometimes, although I mostly study at home. If you do prefer to study on campus, there are two computer lounges as well as the library. As the campus is nearly on the other side of Birmingham for me, I do prefer to work at home so I can avoid the school traffic at 3pm onwards! I tend to study for a couple of hours at home and then on my two free days a week I do more like four hours a day of independent study.
At the weekends I go to my fashion retail job where I work four hours on Saturdays and five hours on Sundays. After work, I try not to study unless I really need to!
When I have my days on campus, I always go to the canteen before lecture starts for some breakfast. They serve a full English breakfast, which in my opinion is the best start to the day! You can choose your items and you can have as eat-in or take-out. It’s relatively inexpensive and just as filling as a McDonald’s breakfast.
During our hour break, I go to The Social Kitchen with my friends. This is the Student Union Café Bar at City South Campus.
They offer student discount on nearly everything on their menu if you show your University student ID. They serve hot drinks, alcohol and a variety of food so there’s something for everyone.
Unfortunately, I have not joined any clubs within the University, although I know there are plenty on offer. However, as a student ambassador I do work on campus when needed in roles such as calling applicants for next year to see if they have any questions about the Education Studies course and invite them to an Applicant Taster Day. Ambassadors can also work on events like Open Days, Applicant Taster Days and Welcome Week.
Aside from that, when I’ve finished a timetabled day, I occasionally spend extra time with my friends by grabbing some food with them in city centre or somewhere near campus. Usually though, I usually head to the city centre as it’s the route to I have to go to head towards home. I grab some snacks from Tesco or Poundland and go round the shops while waiting for my mom to finish work so we can go home together. Once I’m home, I spend some time studying, do any household tasks I need to do like my laundry or cleaning, then catch up on some TV!
Tips on being a student
Throughout my student experience so far, I’ve realised that the meaning of being a student is not only mean to study in higher education, but also maturing academically and as a person. To me, going to university and being a student is the first step into the real world as you do more independent study and learn to research subjects that you are interested in.
Below are some tips that I thought would help in terms of getting started in your student life:
- A watch and alarm clock – it’s always good to keep track of time every day, especially if you have lectures from morning to afternoon and something else planned in the evening. Plus you need a back up to the alarm clock on your phone.
- A full stationery kit – it is essential to have a full stationery kit with you, including notebooks, sticky notes, folders, scissors, a stapler and even a glue stick. This is because you never know what type of activities you will be doing within your lectures and classes and it is best to be prepared with all the tools you need!
- A laptop – if you’re going to bring an electronic device to University (apart from your phone), a laptop is the best thing, not a tablet and especially not your phone. It’s easier to use a laptop when you are finding research, creating a presentation or accessing your student account than using your phone or tablet.
- Wake up half an hour earlier – I find it better to wake at least half an hour earlier than before you get ready as you can give yourself enough time to fully wake up, have breakfast and not rush to go to campus.
- Part time jobs – having a part time job can help you work independently outside of university and to experience how to manage your monthly income and what working in the real world is like.
- Take every opportunity – there are so many opportunities within the University, such as being a student ambassador or a Student Academic Leader (SAL) within your course group. I’ve already mentioned being an ambassadors but a SAL is someone who represents the course group by asking peers what can be improved within the course and lectures/classes and they attend meetings relaying the feedback to members of staff such as the course leader and lecturers. Taking opportunities like this strengthens your CV for future job applications.
- Give yourself enough travel time – it’s better to be early than late. Allowing yourself an extra 30 minutes of travel removes the chances of you being late to class and missing a lot of important information!
- Communicate with your tutors/lecturers – whether you have a query regarding your course or you’re running late for a lecture, it is best to drop them a quick email out of respect to assure them of what may be going on that could get into the way of a usual day on campus.
More from Mollie
Learn more about Mollie manages her financial life.