Emily Higgs

Textile Design - BA (Hons)

Emily was anxious about the prospect of leaving home to go to university, BCU was far away enough to offer independence and close enough to be near her family. She's thrown herself into all opportunities on offer at university and is now a much more confident person.

"I like to be quite an outgoing person and face challenges head on, but this wasn't the case when it came to looking for a university. I felt anxious about leaving the comfort of family, as I really am a 'home-bird'. I faced a lot of worry when finding a university that I loved that wasn't too far away from home, but just far enough to be independent. BCU really did offer that.

From the very first Open Day I visited I knew I was entering a supportive environment, just from the atmosphere. All of the staff make it very clear they are there to help you succeed, and there's a real emphasis on building relationships with others on your course and throughout the whole university.

I’ve now built up my own little family here amongst the friends I’ve made on the course, my flatmates from halls, the people I live with now and my tutors. We did a lot of fun activities during our first year based on working together as a group to get to know one another. Now everyone on our course is great friends and we socialise both in and outside of university.

When I came to BCU, I set myself a list of achievements that I wanted to reach. One of these was to set myself up for the best future that I could have in the industry that I wanted to work in. For me, it’s about more than just studying textile design: it’s about building my connections in the industry and BCU gives me a real opportunity to do that. We have a lot of live briefs with external companies and guest speakers that you can speak to and get a real insight into the industry. We also have CV building modules and a lot of placements. These are incredible opportunities to get hands-on experience in our industry that we have had from our very first year.

I'm proud of how much I have thrown myself into all the opportunities at university, especially during my second year. They say, "you get out as much as you put in" and that's the motto that has stuck with me, and will stay with me for anything I do in life. It’s made me a much more confident, outgoing and sociable person.

There are some difficult days, with the stress of deadlines, being homesick, balancing a job and a degree - but I have learnt that I can overcome any problems I face and that's what I'm proudest of. There’s a lot of support from tutors; we have one-to-one tutorials to check in on how we are doing personally and then have regular contact time with them for personal and group tutorials to discuss and develop our work.

Studying in Birmingham is amazing for a student on a creative, design-based course like me. The city is constantly evolving and changing, and this brings a great deal of inspiration for my work. There’s so much to do, both educationally and socially. I’m always going out shopping in the Bullring, eating amazing food in Digbeth, visiting the museums and library, as well as partying on Broad Street. Birmingham is building a reputation as the 'design city' and has great industry connections right in the heart of it.

There’s a lot of multicultural aspects to the city which I wouldn’t have been able to experience before and that’s really opened up my eyes to the wider community of Birmingham. It's amazing to be surrounded by a wealth of culture.

I love that my course gives us the freedom to cross over disciplines so we can explore and learn as many skills as possible, even if they aren't directly related to my area of expertise - for example, I study textiles, but can use the photography studio and equipment and the laser cutting facilities. As someone who loves to learn, I really enjoy being surrounded by likeminded people in a calm, yet inspiring environment. Oh, and obviously I love the student pub on campus, they do the BEST pizza.

'I AM BCU' means that I am driven and I am part of a supportive community. I am confident in myself, I have everything I need to secure a career in my industry and I am proud to be part of BCU."

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Saturday 28 September 2019

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