I remember coming onto campus and instantly thinking “this is the one”. After visiting other universities I came on an applicant open day here and loved the community feel of a stunning campus, the friendly nature of staff and students and the passion everyone around me had for the University of Birmingham.
Another important aspect for me was the balance between work and social life, after all you have to live here for three years. The guild and university itself offer a huge range of activities in arts, sports, drama, volunteering - the list goes on - not to mention we are only a few minutes away from the city centre.
What are you currently doing? Can you give a brief description of studying your course at the University of Birmingham?
I’ve just returned from the four-week Christmas break and getting back into lectures. I had a few deadlines just before Christmas so really enjoyed a break but am now ready for second term. With multiple deadlines it was slightly stressful but that can be expected from any course and I had full support from numerous avenues within the school itself and the university. Half way through second year I am still enjoying everything about the course from the variations in teaching to course content.
How are you finding the teaching and facilities within the School?
The best thing I find is that we are extremely lucky to have access to top class facilities in the department (eg. DEXA scanner, hyperbaric chamber) even used by elite athletes in the premiership and other disciplines. Some applicants may feel that this equipment is for use by postgrads and the like but we get hands-on experience using it in the Lab Practical module. Lecturers are top of their field and very approachable within office hours or arranging meetings and they vary their teaching approach to accommodate every learner.
What stands out as personal highlights during the degree so far?
I would say the labs are one of the most interesting things about the course. Particularly a first year lab where a volunteer was scanned using the DEXA scanner and was able to take home an x-ray image of their whole body demonstrating bone density and muscle/body fat percentage. It’s the kind of stuff you only see on tv.
How about campus life? Can you describe how it is to study here at Edgbaston Campus rather than in a City Centre location?
It is a campus-based university, so has great community feel for example the clock tower light was temporarily turned blue to raise awareness of an Alzheimers charity and everyone was taking photos and the whole campus was talking about it. Everyone is so patriotic about this University probably because of fascinating facts and a beautiful safe campus. Also we are only a few minutes from the city centre on train so we have the best of both worlds.
How did you settle in as a student? Have you found the student community here supportive?
Everyone is in the same position in first year and living in halls is a great way to get to know people. I am living now with people from first year and already planning for houses after graduation together! On top of this there is support from numerous avenues for those that find the transition difficult. You have a residents association that organises events all year round, there is on-site security 24/7, the guild run a student mentor scheme, there are course student reps and welfare lecturers in each school.
Did you join any student societies or take part in any events?
I have probably overloaded myself but I truly think you have to make the most of it while you are here because when you enter the real world it will never be this easy or cheap! I am part of the dance, salsa, ballroom and volunteering societies in the Guild. I also play football, have coached PE at a primary school and last year I was one of seven Pritchatts Park (uni halls) RA members.
Do you do any volunteering?
I currently mentor other students in coaching placements, I taught dance and multi-skills in a primary school last year, I am on a committee organizing Olympic inspired events around campus and I regularly help raise charity on Rag Raids and steward our RAG society.
Do you do any work placements/internships? If so, what?
I am currently looking for a summer internship but last summer I worked in a childrens camp. I am also doing a sports massage course as of next week and will be fully qualified by the end of March. SportEx [the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences] and University Career Services send regular emails regarding work placements internships and career meetings which is where I found my summer job.
Any tips or words of wisdom that you would like to pass on to other students thinking of coming to study here?
Enjoy it. You will only be able to achieve the highest success in your degree if you are happy here. You will never be in such an enriched environment as university again so make the most of every opportunity. Obviously you have to dedicate a lot of effort to your degree as that is the reason you are here essentially, but university life is about the balance.
What are your aspirations for the future?
Ideally I would love to see more of the world through travelling but I also have further studies in mind. I may specialize in physiotherapy or sports injuries and, in an ideal world, would love to live in London working within an elite sports domain.
How do you think the degree programme will help you in your future career?
It has already helped me, I have numerous experiences I never would have had if I didn’t come here. I have also met some of my best friends here which I know I will hold dear for the rest of my life. Undoubtedly it will help me in the future too as it provides you with so many skills you wouldn’t get anywhere else. The social skills you adopt are key too.