Advice from student Jess Wythe
BA (Hons) Education Studies
Hi, my name is Jess Wythe and I am a student on the BA (Hons) Education Studies course here at Birmingham City University (BCU).
Preparing to start is really exciting, but can be overwhelming too - I remember only too well how I felt when I was in your shoes. Below I have shared my advice and tips to make your transition to uni life as smooth as possible and hopefully ease any anxieties you might have.
The best discovery I have made since starting BCU
The best discovery I've made is the opportunities to go abroad available for students. In March, I went to Peru to complete a two-week internship working with communities living in poverty. As someone who had never been abroad without my parents previously, this was such a significant milestone in my life and I'm so grateful for the support I received from staff and students at BCU, both prior to and after the trip.
The best thing about University
My favourite thing about BCU is that the staff are so passionate about what they are teaching; their enthusiasm inspires me as a student to work harder and value their feedback. The staff really go out of their way to create engaging, interactive sessions and pass their enthusiasm onto you. I feel that they believe in you and want you to succeed. For me this has made Education Studies so much more enjoyable. In the classroom, I feel confident to share my thoughts and opinions and contest points that I do not agree with and I've become more determined and motivated as a result of the confidence shown in me by the Education Studies tutors.
My favourite places in Birmingham
I moved to Birmingham for university. I come from a much smaller city called Lincoln and Birmingham is huge in comparison! My favourite place is Grand Central (New Street train station) as there is so much to do while waiting for my train home, such as shopping or getting something to eat. I also really enjoy going to the theatre - Birmingham Hippodrome is my favourite place to see musicals!
My tips for students starting in September
My advice for students starting the Education Studies course in September would be to ensure that you are up-to-date with current issues, nationally and globally. When I started, I downloaded a news app on my phone and it has made me so much more aware of what is going on around me.
Get involved in what BCU has to offer, make the most of every opportunity you are given and most importantly, talk to people. Moving to university is such a daunting experience, but you need to remember that everybody is in the same boat and looking to make the transition from home to university as smooth as possible. As cliche as it sounds, the friends you make at university are the friends you make for life.
What I didn’t know before starting my course
Before starting my course, I didn't realise how much support is available at BCU. Of course, there is academic support available from your course leader and lecturers, but there are additional support systems at BCU such as financial support, learning support and the Centre for Academic Success, who can give you advice regarding assignments, referencing and academic writing. They also offer career support - there is a department called Careers+ where the staff provide services such as advising you on how to improve your CV, interview techniques and how to find a job, both during your study and after you graduate.
My uni essentials
My university essentials are highlighter pens: in classes, you will read so many articles and journals so highlighting important parts ensures that you can find them again quickly when skim-reading - it also makes the pages colourful, which is a bonus!
I lived in student accommodation for my first year and found a microwavable plastic rice steamer was a lifesaver! Also bring plastic Tupperware boxes; my top tip is to cook meals at the beginning at the week, and freeze leftovers. You can then reheat and eat a good meal during the rest of the week, which is quick and easy, especially after a long day of university.
I hope that you have found this helpful and if you have any questions then feel free to email and someone will get back to you. Hope to see you soon!