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I AM BCU - Isabel Radice - secondary

Isabel Radice

Film and Animation - BA (Hons)

Isabel suffers with anxiety, intensified by moving away from her small, close knit family to come to university. Since being here she has become much more confident in herself and her work; she was even a student rep for her School and has started to improve students’ access to mental health support.  

"I personally suffer from a lot of anxiety, which was definitely heightened when I moved away from home to study. I come from a very small, close knit family with no siblings, so going from that to suddenly living with five strangers was completely daunting. Being on my own for the first time led to times where I regretted my decision to move away from home.

Although it was challenging, I always knew I wanted to go to university. I’d always had an interest in animation but was advised to apply for Illustration as that is what I’d focused on during my art foundation. Very quickly after arriving I realised I’d made the wrong decision and after a couple of tough weeks where I was considering dropping out, I spoke to our Student Success Advisor (SSA) who encouraged me to try Film and Animation. The tutors were extremely helpful during my course transition and assisted with all of the necessary paperwork. It was the best decision I ever made.

I came to BCU with a main goal of enhancing my skillset and finding a career path that was right for me. I’ve definitely gained many specialist skills that I didn’t possess before joining, in areas including film production, editing, and production management. I was also passionately interested in improving students’ access to facilities and people that could help to improve their mental health and I feel that I have certainly made a start with that.

Right from the get-go I was an advocate for improving students’ accessibility to mental health and wellness connections. I worked to get every single tutor and lecturer in the School of Visual Communication to update their email signature to include links to Big White Wall and the BCU in-house counselling service. It seems like a very small point but for students like myself to be easily signposted to these services and find ways to improve their own mental health without having to have the uncomfortable conversation with a tutor is a really big deal. It is definitely an ongoing process but I’m happy I’ve started something that will hopefully be carried on after I leave.

Looking back, I absolutely do not regret my decision to come to university. It pushed me out of my comfort zone but I’m proud of myself for what I have achieved so far. I’m mostly proud of being a student representative for the School of Visual Communication for two years running, enabling me to ensure students’ voices are being heard, and helping to set up @VISCOMMUNITY, an Instagram account for Visual Communication students to share their work, ideas and events. I really like being able to meet people who come from everywhere around the country and even around the world. There’s always something going on, whether that’s a cake sale, a gallery showing or a talk. There’s never been a dull moment here.

BCU has provided me with a lot of support for my anxiety and general feelings of not being good enough to be here. Eleanor, our SSA, has been especially supportive of this and has offered me constant reassurance when I’ve needed it most. She always stops to talk to me and check in, which I really appreciate.

‘I am BCU’ means belonging to a family. No matter where you’re from, where you’re going, or what you hope to do, you are constantly surrounded by people with whom you have something in common. It means growing as a person and pushing yourself to be the very best that you can be, whilst also encouraging the people around you to do the same.

I arrived here with a lack of direction and self-confidence, and I am going to leave here next month as a changed person who has confidence in her work and is excited for the future."

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