What to Expect in Your First Year Studying BA (Hons) Horology

Alexandra Verejanu joined Birmingham City University’s School of Jewellery to study BA (Hons) Horology in September 2020. Alexandra gave us an insight into her first year at BCU, the balance of remote and on-campus teaching, and shares her advice for students who are beginning their journey at university soon.

What were your expectations before starting your first year at university?

I expected to come to a course alongside a small number of students, predominantly older than me but, in fact I’m one of the oldest. As Horology is a very hands-on course, I hoped to spend most of my day in the workshops.

How did you find the first few months of university?

The first few months were challenging, as my life took a 180° turn. I lived with my parents in another EU country as a Jeweller. I went to a bilingual school which exposed me to British culture, so that wasn’t a shock for me.

As the course was affected by the pandemic, I didn’t get to be in the workshop as much as I’d hoped. However, I think I made the most out of the lockdown in terms of spending more time with myself and I accomplished a lot in first year!

What has the balance been like for remote learning vs on campus teaching?

The first semester included a lot of time in the workshop which I loved! The second semester varied due to the national lockdown: the first half was completed online and the other half on campus. As soon as we were able to, our lecturers worked hard to get us back onto campus and arrange as many workshop classes as possible.

What has been your favourite project you have worked on so far? 

My favourite project was the Mini Clock. We were tasked with creating the base of a clock and we’ll be continuing this project in our second year. It involved a lot of practical work such as filing and polishing, which exposed me to new materials, precious metals and helped me master some of my existing Horology skills.

What is the community like in your school?

My course is based in the School of Jewellery, which is in a heritage building. My class and the students in my course are quite sociable. I can always ask them stuff; they’re very happy to help. I know the workshop is usually full all the time, so it’s great to learn from other students!

My lecturers and technicians are very nice as well. They are very friendly and will help you with all you need and it’s nice to have a chat with them during breaks. Overall, the atmosphere is really nice in the class.

Is studying at university much different to college or sixth form?

When you go to university, independent work is what’s mostly expected. This means doing your own research and bringing in new information regarding the subject. I believe you have to be fully committed and interested in the university course you are studying.

What advice would you give to students who are starting university soon?

Think about the type of accommodation you want to live in. I decided to live alone, and I don’t regret it. My studio quickly became my home, a cosy place filled with my energy and rules.

Do your assessments on time. Start reading immediately when the lecturers give you materials. When you receive the requirements for an essay, work on it a little each day, don’t leave them until the last week. You learn more if you spend time every day after classes researching and writing than you do when you hurry to finish an assignment.

Find out more about BA (Hons) Horology