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Rebecca Murray - Radiotherapy

Rebecca Murray

Hi, I’m Rebecca and I’m just about to qualify as a therapeutic radiographer after a three-year BSc (Hons) Radiotherapy course. Preparing to start uni is really exciting, but can be overwhelming too. I've shared my advice and tips to make your transition to uni life as smooth as possible and hopefully ease any anxieties you might have. 

Do live at home and commute or away from home? What are the pros/cons of this?

I lived in student accommodation for my three years at University originally to gain ‘the full university experience’ and then as it was easier to travel to my placement site from Birmingham than my family home. I enjoyed living away from home as it was a good opportunity to form new friendships with a variety of people living in the accommodation. As I lived relatively close to City South Campus I could easily pop into University if needed, even at short notice so that was really useful.

The independence of living away from home was also something I appreciated. Student accommodation is a hive of activity; there is always something happening for you to get involved in whether it be a flat party, film night, quiz night or Chinese buffet (these are examples of things that were put on at the accommodation I stayed in). The cost of living away from home was a burden although many accommodation contracts include bills and maintenance of the property reducing some of your own responsibilities. Living in halls in the first year does mean that you don’t have a choice over who you live with; however, as there is such a high number of students in one place, it’s easy to find someone you get on with even if they don’t live in your flat. Plus of course you make additional friends and contacts through your actual course.

What’s your favourite thing about Birmingham as a city? Where do you enjoy going/what do you enjoy doing?

Living in Birmingham there’s always something on that you could go to as well as lots of attractions only a short distance away. I’ve enjoyed going to the Christmas markets, to Digbeth, the cinema, West Midlands Safari Park, Alton Towers and the Botanical Gardens (on a sunny day!). Broad Street and the Arcadian offer a variety choices for a night out too. Other things to do around Birmingham include Cadbury World, The ThinkTank, The Black Country Living Museum, shopping in the Bullring, plus a number of mini golf attractions, and lots more!

Is there anything that new students should be aware of (uniform etc.)?

  • BCU will provide you with uniforms but you will need to buy your own placement shoes (which adhere to University uniform policy). I would recommend waiting until the Bullring’s Student Sessions to buy these as you can get a good discount in Clarks and save yourself some money and this is usually before your first block of placement in first year.
  • Taking a notebook on placement can be useful to take notes that you can look over.
  • DO NOT buy any books unless you really want to; anything you need is available in the library in physical form or online.
  • Try to attend any lectures or sessions available which cover referencing and academic skills as having good resources and correct referencing is an easy way to pick up a few extra marks on assignments
  • You’re likely to have 9am lectures – just wake up and go to them as it’s really not that bad once you’re there!
  • If you want to buy food on Campus there are lots of places but the Student Union Social Kitchen is well priced and good quality.
  • Registering at a GP in Birmingham is definitely advisable.

What do you wish you'd known before you started?

How quickly three years would pass!

Are you involved in any societies? 

I’m a member of the Radiography Society which has organised study days and the grad ball. It required a payment to join (I can’t remember how much but that means it probably wasn’t very expensive!) There’s a lot of societies (go to Freshers' Fair during Welcome Week). You don’t have to join a team or society to play sports at BCU as you can go to drop-in type sports sessions at City South Campus for things like badminton, basketball and netball, which is only a few pounds a session.

What’s your one piece of advice for new students starting this year?

Take advantage of every opportunity that is offered to you (not only related to your course). Some may be paid opportunities, others might not, but you will gain a lot from participating, whether it be improving your own skills or building relationships with other healthcare students.

Do you feel as though you’ve been supported through your studies?

Lecturers are very supportive and are available for tutorials without any issues. I don’t think I accessed all of the support services available as I didn’t feel I needed them but I did utilise the library and librarians available for tutorials to help with assignments, e.g. finding resources and referencing. The Personal Development Department (PDD) was used by a few of my friends who reported they had good experiences.

As I have progressed through my third year I found the Careers+ team to be helpful when it came to writing my personal statement and filling in job applications.