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Advice from first year student, Jess Tout

Jess Tout

Hi, my name is Jess Tout and I'm a BSc (Hons)  Social Work student here at BCU. 

Preparing to start university is very exciting, however it can make you feel a bit nervous too. Below I have shared my experiences and tips to help you feel less nervous and make your transition to university much easier.

The best discovery I’ve made since starting the University

The Centre for Academic Success was my lifesaver at the start of the year! I was panicking about referencing and how to write my first essay exactly how BCU wanted it. The Centre for Academic Success runs workshops, one-to-one tutorials and have study guides online, which will support you throughout your University journey. I would definitely recommend making the most out of the support they can offer you!

My favourite thing about BCU

My tutors have always made what we are learning enjoyable and interactive. I feel like I've learnt so much in my first year! They are also extremely supportive and will help you in any way they can, whether that is academically or personally. All of my tutors made a real effort to get to know each student, which makes it so much easier to approach them when you needed support.

What I love about the city

Birmingham is such a vibrant city, it has so much to offer! Great shopping, places to eat and nightlife. There is something for everyone!

My most favourite place to go is Digbeth Dinning Club which is an outdoor street food event hosted at a venue in Digbeth just outside the city centre. It is really vibrant and has a really cool atmosphere. They sell the best desserts and it is a great place for a meal out on a student budget! I also love Ghetto Golf!

My top tips for prospective social workers

The best tips I can give to anyone starting their social work training are:

  • Don’t leave all your work until the last minute! There is a lot of studying involved but if you keep on top of it, it will save you a lot of stress and worry when you have deadlines to meet.
  • Attend all of your lectures! You don’t realise how much information you’ve missed until it comes to writing an assignment. You get so much more from a lecture than just reading the PowerPoint presentations at home as your tutors will talk to you about their own experiences and will allow you to ask questions and interact with the lecture.
  • Ask for help! Don't be afraid to ask your tutors for help. There will be times when you find something difficult or you’re worried about something. Do not try and deal with it on your own. You tutor will always support you and will do everything they can to help!

What I didn’t know before starting my course

I did not know how many extracurricular opportunities the University had to offer. There are so many societies, trips and activities so I would really recommend getting involved. I joined a few societies and took part in different activities that were arranged by BCU throughout the year. It really helped me to settle into BCU and make a wide range of different friends. It also gave me a break from studying!

My uni essentials

When writing my assignments, I relied on Summon (this is a website we use to find our academic reading or sources). It is really useful because it references the source for you, which saves you so much time!

I definitely could not have lived without my laptop and my printer. I would definitely recommend a printer if you can get one; it will save you making trips to the library when you’re not in University!

I hope that this has been helpful and has eased some of your nerves! Feel free to say hi if you see me on campus. Enjoy the rest of your summer and see you soon!