Avital Prais

Sport and Exercise Nutrition - BSc (Hons)

Avital didn't know what she wanted in life when she applied to university, and has gone on a journey to study three courses in the space of three years to really find her passion. She could not be happier now and has transformed into a confident student with new personal and academic skills.

"Looking back to when I first came to university, I was a completely different person and I can see how much I’ve grown. I was less confident, had just left home and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in life and certainly hadn’t found my “thing”.  I think this is why I’ve ended up choosing three courses within the space of three years. 

Going to university was something that I felt was expected of me growing up – leaving school and not following up with completing a degree was pretty much unheard of in the community I grew up in. I wanted to go but also I didn’t know any other options.

I left my school to do a BTEC in Health and Social Care, leading me to apply to university to study Adult Nursing, for which I had a place at BCU. I started to doubt whether I actually wanted to go into nursing or if I had just chosen it as it had seemed appealing at the time.

Weeks before I was due to start the course, I contacted the university and switched courses to study Psychology with Sociology – something I hadn’t studied before but had a personal interest in. I found it hard to apply myself in Psychology and the more I thought about it, the more I knew I didn’t want to pursue a career in this area.

By this point I was fairly certain university was not for me. I considered dropping out and going down the apprenticeship route until I discovered that BCU had just launched a new course in Sport and Exercise Nutrition – two of my interests combined. After speaking to the course leader, I decided to transfer courses which the university was incredibly helpful with.

Although it’s taken three years and three courses to find my passion, I could not be happier on this course, which reflects in all that I do; I love studying at BCU and appreciate all the support I have received.

The challenges I’ve faced since becoming a student have helped shape me into who I am today and looking back there’s nothing I would change. Being able to come to university and explore different areas socially as well as on my degree has been one of the most important things to me.

I’ve become a lot more outgoing and confident both personally and academically – in addition to this, I’ve picked up skills useful for both my career path and on a more personal level. I threw myself into the course and all the opportunities on offer, engaging as much as possible in things like workshops and placements. 

My greatest achievement has been learning to believe in myself, and BCU has been a great help in this. Academically, I find it really easy to just be average. When I did my first course, I did okay-ish, especially as I didn’t put in much effort but I kept thinking, “Imagine how well I could do if I actually put work in.” When I came to my second course and started to do really well academically, something clicked within me. My confidence went up much more and I actually believe in myself now. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support network around me at university and having everyone else believing in me. It goes to show what the right degree for you can do and has highlighted to me what I can achieve when I put my mind to it.

The lecturers have all been amazing and I can go to them whenever I want. They’ve played a massive role in building my confidence up. They’ve made me feel so comfortable on my new course and reassured me when I felt overwhelmed at the beginning.

It feels like being part of a community here at BCU, especially because I’m part of a relatively small department. Engaging in everything my department has to offer has not only helped me make friends with my course peers, but also given me the opportunity to interact with students on the other sport-related courses. I’ve built up a great rapport with all the staff and coming into university is a welcoming and enjoyable experience.

To me, ‘I AM BCU’ means being confident, being part of a community, picking up skills and then knowing how to use them. It’s knowing that you can go into whatever career path that you want to go into and that you’re fully equipped to do so because of all the things that BCU has helped you achieve."

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