My journey as a first-year mature student has been interesting and rewarding to say the least. I was a mum of three young boys and pregnant with my fourth child during my first year of studies. I originally had a different plan for my life with regards to my study. At the age of 19 I was studying an access to nursing and midwifery course in college with the view of becoming a midwife. Whilst studying the access course it had become apparent that midwifery was not what I saw myself doing in the future and that instead I was much more interested in finding out about becoming a primary school teacher.
I had always known that the career I wanted was something that made a huge positive impact on others lives, from a very young age instead of telling my mum that I wanted to be a ballet dancer or singer, I told her that I wanted to help people. I had a positive experience of primary school; I could even say that most of my fondest memories were created whilst I was in primary school. I always had a huge amount of respect for my teachers and always saw them as role models. I have spent a lot of time in school / study and decided that I enjoy it that much that I don’t want to leave and that I want to stay in school forever!
My nursing and midwifery access qualification was enough for me to apply for the Primary Education Studies degree at Cardiff Met. I knew that I needed to attend a university that is close to home with a great support system as my life isn’t as flexible as I would want it to be being a mum of three young boys and at the time pregnant with my fourth child. Cardiff Metropolitan University ticked a lot of boxes for me on the Open Days that I attended, the tutors were always very approachable, the campus had a very welcoming environment, the modules on the course were intriguing and interesting and 100% coursework was a bonus. Not to forget parking on campus, lifesaver!
I was of course really apprehensive in my first week, worrying that I wasn’t going to fit in to the typical university lifestyle but I managed to find myself a really supportive and motivating group of friends right from the beginning, they truly had a positive impact on my first year of studies. Finding a group of friends that motivate and encourage you to be your best was essential for me, I was therefore able to push myself to receive the higher grades that I worked so hard for. Managing a healthy study / social balance was the key to success.
Not only have my group of friends had a positive impact on my first year of studies, my tutors, and lecturers also. The lecturers that I have had the pleasure of meeting in my first year have been truly inspirational. Each lecturer has had years of experience in different areas of primary education studies, therefore full of knowledge and skills which they are more than happy to share. I really couldn’t say enough positive things about the tutors and lecturers that I have met in my first year, but I know that I will always remember the advice and tips that they will have given me during my time of study at Cardiff Met.
Being a mum of boys, I am extremely hands-on and like to get involved, therefore seminar sessions were best suited to my learning. As seminar groups are smaller and more intimate, I felt as though my confidence and abilities grew incredibly during my first year because of this. Seminars enabled me to listen and understand other thoughts and opinions, therefore encouraging me to develop and improve my own views. I honestly could not choose just one module as my favourite as I had many different favourite topics or experiences in each of the different modules, all thanks to the tutors that were delivering the lectures and seminars.
I feel as though during my first year I have already experienced so many new and exciting opportunities, from listening to guest speakers, volunteering to help out with different activities within schools and also social media growth on my teaching profile. All the apprehension and worry that I had about studying as a mature student was quickly replaced with determination and motivation to get the most out of my first year of studying my Primary Education Studies degree. I look forward to improving on my academic and social skills during my second year of studying, ensuring I take in every opportunity to improve myself as a whole, to become the best primary school teacher that I can be.