My first year experience

We spoke to Hettie, about her first-year experience studying in the School of Engineering and Built Environment. She tells us how a project with one of Britain’s largest housebuilding companies has enabled her to gain industry insight, why she decided to join the Polo society and how being organised at university is key!

Why did you choose to study at Birmingham City University?

Initially, I had intended on going to a different university. But after attending the Birmingham City University (BCU) Open Day and later on, the Applicant Taster Day, I immediately changed my mind. When researching into other universities I found the courses to be very theory-heavy, whereas BCU offered a course that provided vital links with industry and was much more vocationally based.

How would you describe the community here?

Due to some restrictions with on-campus working, my opportunities to meet and work with others were reduced. However, the experience that I have had throughout my first year has been very welcoming! Both lecturers and support staff are approachable and always willing to support you. The first year included many opportunities to work with peers, so I was able to meet others on my course.

Did you get involved with any extra curriculum activities in your first year?

Yes! BCU has a range of societies that you can join, which enable you to combine a hobby with meeting people who have the same interests as you. I have joined the Ice Hockey Society as well as the Polo society. Both are so enjoyable and allow me to relax with friends!

What has been the most rewarding project you have worked on?

Definitely working with Taylor Wimpey. For this project, we were involved in looking at aspects of how the company was managed and also took a site visit to one of their development sites. We then had to present our findings to a panel from Taylor Wimpey. It enabled us to speak to experts in the industry and gain an in-depth understanding of how one of the largest British-based housebuilding companies runs day-to-day.

Is studying at university the same as studying at college/sixth form?

I went from attending a small college in a rural area to a university in the second largest city in the UK, so it was a big change. But the classes are small and you quickly get to know everyone. The amount of work does significantly increase from college to university, but you are given lots of time for independent study which allows you to complete the work.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned from your first year?

You have to be organised. You will have assignments, projects, and exams to work on throughout your first year and the weeks really do go by so quickly.

What advice would you give to others who are starting their first year?

You need to get out and about. Get to know everyone, join a society, work with your peers and explore the city! You will be surprised by how much confidence you gain when you begin university.

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