Illustration - BA (Hons)
Paulina had never considered going to university as no one else in her family went and she had to retake her GCSEs. Since joining BCU, Paulina is a much more confident person, a student rep for her School and was even shortlisted for an Extra Mile Award.
"I never considered going to university, it wasn’t really a thing in my family as no one else went. I live with my mum and younger sister and we only moved to the UK six years ago.
Mum’s English isn’t the best so I spend a lot of time helping my sister with her homework. I failed most of my GCSEs and had to retake them so sixth form took me three years instead of two. I took BTEC Childcare, Sociology and Graphic Design for my A Levels and won an award for my efforts. Being foreign and from a poorer household made it really hard to go to university and it’s only due to my Graphics teacher that I even thought about going, as she pushed me to go to open days and apply for a place. I will be forever grateful to my teachers for believing me and encouraging me to take this step.
The wait and uncertainty between exams and results day was horrible. I had no money saved and my mum couldn’t support me financially, so I worked full time over the summer and did lots of overtime.
I was made to feel welcome before I even joined BCU. After getting my A Level results I received a text to say congratulations and a chocolate bar in the post. I visited once for an open day and there was a competition for the best picture of the campus posted on Instagram. I was one of the winners and received £100 for it! Starting my first year there were lots of social events and opportunities to get to know people and everyone was so friendly to each other. I consider that year the best year of my life.
I’m so proud of what I’ve already achieved in my time here. I was a Student Academic Leader in my first year and I am now a representative for my School where I work on bringing a bigger sense of community to the School of Visual Communication. I was even shortlisted as the School Rep of the year for the Extra Mile Awards! Alongside this I have also managed to get a job in the Creative Print Room in Parkside. Having a part time job really helps with meeting new people and I can work around my course timetable too.
I have gained so much more confidence by coming to university. I feel like I’m a completely different person to who I was before. My goals and interests have changed as well, I used to watch a lot of TV in my free time and now I have lots of different hobbies and love going out exploring Birmingham, there’s so much to do here. I go to concerts, drag shows, exhibitions and events all the time. I’ve also started learning Spanish thanks to Graduate+.
“I am BCU” means being part of this community and being proud of it. It means supporting each other and growing together. BCU has given me so many opportunities and continues to do so. I have one more year of studies left and I am so excited for it."
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Our next Open Day is 21 March