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Natalie Marriott - I AM BCU 900x400

Natalie Marriott

Black Studies - BA (Hons)

Natalie is a mature student who originally wanted to go into logistics. However, while she was searching for courses in this area, she happened to come across our Black Studies degree. She was instantly fascinated by the course content and the new world of ideas students explore on the course. Studying as a mature student with two children has been demanding, but Natalie has found the support and opportunities available to her on her course amazing.   

“While looking into logistics, there was nothing that stood out to me but, during my search for the right course, I stumbled upon a degree called Black Studies. Understanding society is something I have always been passionate about and, the more research I did on the course, the better it seemed to get.

Knowing I would be a mature student, I was nervous about starting an undergraduate degree. But I found out quickly that there is a diverse range of students on the course, meaning that socialising and getting to know your peers is easy. The degree is a lot more interactive than I had ever imagined. Our academics have so many links that they even bring in other well-known scholars as guest speakers to educate and inspire us students. Not only this but students from all years on the course get the chance to network and socialise at the events academic staff organise for us.

I feel I have gained a huge amount from my course. I have an in-depth understanding of society from a local, national and international perspective, and I feel better prepared to navigate society as an individual already, even though I am yet to complete my degree. The course content is full of interesting modules, currently ‘Black Feminism(s)’ is the most inspiring to date.

Extracurricular activities within my degree seem endless. Sometimes I can’t keep up! Students can get involved in a range of on campus events and collaborations with the community. In the past, I have got involved in debates and interacted with guest speakers. Students can also get involved in exchange visits to other universities around the world. I am also the secretary of the BCUSU student parent and care givers society and have been a part of organising events and sign posting BCU support for students so they can have the best learning experience possible here at BCU.

I have 2 children; one aged five and the other aged 21. My eldest studies here at BCU too. Graduating with my daughter would be the proudest moment of my life, and we’d have BCU to thank for it. But as you can imagine, finding a balance between university, work and looking after my children is challenging. I have suffered from a couple of health issues in relation to my five-year-old daughter but studying part-time allows me to manage my life around my children. Online access to course material makes studying so much easier. You can even access e-books from home. The support from the university has been above and beyond my expectations.

I have a few plans for after my degree, but for now I’m looking into a social enterprise support network for students experiencing financial difficulty. In my opinion, I think that big organisations need to take their corporate social responsibility to a new and more serious level, and to support younger people working through their studies, without all the red tape involved. My degree has helped me to realise exactly what career I want to go into, and it has helped me find what I am most passionate about.

To me, I AM BCU is a chance for me to show everyone, no matter who you are, that you can make a difference to the world.”

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