Katy Produced by
from United Kingdom

Master by Research

Current student Katy in gym kit squatting down doing peace signs to the camera

Became a self-employed Zumba instructor in 2019

Almost every student I’ve met while at BU took the usual college-then-straight-to-university route, but that wasn’t the case for me. After finishing my A-levels, I still didn’t know for sure what I wanted to do with my life (sounds dramatic, I know).

So, I went on what could only be described as a “non-traditional” route from college and university for about 3 years. It was quite the mix: studying part-time, working part-time jobs, travelling, volunteering, passing my driving test, finding new hobbies, and too much more to list.

It felt very strange going back into full-time education after such a long time and during a very stressful time in the world. I felt so behind and inadequate compared to everyone starting uni immediately after college. And the worst part of all was that I had never studied psychology before, let alone a specialism like cyberpsychology. I studied sociology at A-level but had no idea if social sciences at uni would be a little different or completely different.

Desk set up with a computer and textbooks and a water bottle

Taking advantage of library resources

I was so worried I would fall even further behind. Luckily, none of these feelings lasted long. When I arrived for my first lecture, I didn’t struggle to understand it at all. The lecturers understood that not everyone in that room would be familiar with all the theories and weird terminology.

We received a lot of guidance in the first couple of months or so with lots of support materials and reading lists; I felt so much more at ease.

A white image with a green border with with words A critical analysis of face-to-face interaction by Katy Bailey

Transferable skills thanks to part-time study assignments

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced, particularly during my first year, was getting used to applying critical thinking to my assignments. Any amount of critical thinking I had applied in college was long forgotten.

I was very anxious since it was an important skill in getting better grades. Thankfully, I could easily book in to see my academic advisor whenever I received assignment grades and feedback to discuss where I went wrong and could improve.

I am grateful for all the life skills the three years gave me, and I’m also grateful for the support I’ve received from my course staff and BU in general for helping with my transition to full-time study. I remember in college, I had exceptional circumstances during my exams and was able to apply those to my BU student profile. It was before I had moved to Bournemouth, and I could add my GP letter regarding my circumstances to the ALS (Additional Learning Support) section of my application profile.

The left side of the image is green and the right is red, the word College on the left has an arrow pointing to the word University on the right with several other phrases pointing off the word University, such as, 1st part time job, self-employed, 4th part time job

My journey from college to university

The most surprising part was they confirmed the adjustments they made within two days, which I was relieved was sorted before my course started.

I’m so thankful BU is able to understand each student’s situation and help them through a transition which (for me anyway) was so nerve-wracking. Not everyone takes the same route to start university; I definitely enjoyed the road less travelled.


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