My name’s Abbie, and I am currently in my second year studying a Foundation Degree in Teaching and Learning at Petroc. I am based at Brannam’s campus.
My journey towards higher education (HE) has been a rocky road. Once I had finished my BTEC in Health and Social Care, I was unsure of what steps to take next. I knew I did not want to go away to university straight away because I wanted to stay at home with my family. A job opportunity came up for a business administrator apprentice, so I applied, went for the interview and successfully got the job. After a few months, I realised this was not the career pathway I wanted to go down and that I really wanted to work with children.
I signed up for the Foundation Degree in Teaching and Learning after reading about it on the Petroc website, and it has opened many doors for me already.
My biggest fear before attending Petroc was that being a higher education course, I wouldn’t receive much support; I was completely wrong. You have access to a range of support: a library full of books, online resources, and 1:1 support with lecturers if you have any queries.
Something else I considered to be a barrier was being shy. I have always worried about going into new environments and making friends, but this has completely changed. I have made many new friends of different ages since attending Petroc, and now I see many of them as friends for life.
I am the first person in my family to venture into higher education; they have always been very supportive when it comes to my education because they know it is very important to me that I get a good job in the future.
The biggest lesson I have learnt from my HE experience is to be more independent. There are times where you have to be in order to reach an outcome and complete your assignments; however, there will be times where you must work in a team, for example in group projects or presentations.
Higher education opens many doors, and it has led to many opportunities. I signed up to be a student ambassador and this enabled me to go around to different schools speaking to groups of students about their future. For those that were unsure, I was able to point them in different directions and highlight different options.
Another opportunity I had was to complete work-based learning in a school of my choice. This was very beneficial because it gave me an insight as to what it is like to work as a member of staff in a primary school. It gave me an experience I could then reflect on.
For my final year, I have decided to commute to the University of Plymouth. This will enable me to gain experience of what it’s like to study in a larger university environment. Once I have finished my degree, I know that there will be many career pathways I can go down and I can put the knowledge I have learned into practice.
If anyone has the opportunity to enter into higher education, grab it! Not only can you expand on your knowledge in different areas, but you can also make changes towards your personal and professional development.