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Peggy Powell 900x400 I Am BCU

Peggy Powell

Event, Venue and Experience Management - BA (Hons)

My original hopes for going to university all fell apart when I left mainstream education at the age of 12. 

If there’s an education supplement out there, I’ve done it; smaller schools, private tuition, correspondence learning, and even two Access to HE courses. Everything always seemed to come at the wrong time, or something serious would arise and I would have to drop out. The harder I fell behind, the harder it was to catch up.

I managed to get accepted onto a course at one university through a special pathway, which limited the selection courses I was allowed to do thanks to my educational history. I enjoyed it, but it really wasn’t my passion and I had no motivation. Despite everything I’d been through, I knew that I wouldn’t be satisfied if I dropped out again and didn’t go to uni like I always wanted.

While studying there, I was diagnosed with ADHD. The medication I was given put a massive stress on my body, physically and mentally. This, combined with my lack of motivation led me to drop out, yet again.

While studying, I’d been involved in running events for the university, which was something I really enjoyed. I wanted to get back into university, this time on a course I knew I’d love, so I came to a BCU Open Day to look at the film courses. It was my local uni and had a great reputation for vocational courses.

It was while I was at the Open Day that I saw the new events course and thought: “Actually, perhaps that’s what I want to do.” So instead, I checked out that course and was inspired by the way it was focussing on events as experiences, being as much creative as it was business focussed. I instantly knew that that was the career path I wanted to go down. It was a leap of faith and a massive risk for me considering my history, but I’m phenomenally glad I took the plunge.

It was a daunting start, considering my history. I’m also a decade older than the youngest person and five years older than the second oldest person on my course. I’m a mum, and live off campus, and have had a very different journey to everyone else. However none of these things matter now, and I haven’t felt like an outsider at all since being here. When you walk down the corridors, staff say hi and smile at you, and it’s the friendliest, most diverse mix of people I’ve ever seen. You don’t stand out – you are part of this mix of people who’re here for the same experience.

I’ve been here less than a full year, but already feel so much more motivated and confident. When applying for jobs in the past, I’d have to find ways to patch over holes in my CV, whereas I’ve now had so many opportunities here I’m having trouble getting it down to two pages! The tutors have gone above and beyond to give us the best experiences and the best chance of success later on in life.

To me, ‘I AM BCU’ is both freedom and opportunity. I’ve spent my whole life being judged, given labels and having assumptions made about me. Here, in my first year here, I’ve been opened to opportunity, to discover myself, and get to know people I would never have met before both personally and career-wise. BCU gets Birmingham as a city – it’s diverse, full of culture, full of spice and flavour and colour and vibrance.

I’ve met people at BCU who have experienced life and get what life is about. We are open, welcome, and opportunistic, and experienced both as people and as professionals.

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