As a lecturer and personal tutor within one of the partner colleges which offers the 2+2 Social Studies degree (BA Hons) I find myself in a very privileged position. You see, my position enables me to be involved with students as they take their first steps into the world of academia, as I provide guidance on the course and interview potential students. At interview, students are often concerned as to whether they have the ability to study for a degree with the University. Many (but not all) lack that little bit of self-belief and it is my job to help potential students to see the opportunities that lie before them.
Often when students start the course they are a little apprehensive, as many have not been in a classroom since their schooling, but this soon fades as students discover that they have a lot to offer in the classroom based on their life experiences and their work experience. I am yet to discover a parent or carer who does not organise and plan their time, an essential skill for success!
I see our students grow not only in terms of understanding, knowledge and engaging critically with theory and the course materials but also personally. Many students develop more confidence and self-belief, overcome adversity and take on new challenges which they may have thought not possible before starting the course. Some students come with very set ideas about what careers they are aiming for after their degree, however often students change their minds once they have experienced the subjects on offer during year 1 and 2. The course provides students with the opportunity to study subjects which they may not have knowledge of, and some find that they have a ‘spark’ or interest in an area which they never thought would be for them, thus influencing module options at the university in year 3 and 4.
What is a real celebration is witnessing students graduate, being able to celebrate with them in their success and achievement, and meeting the family and friends who have been part of that support network enabling the student to be successful.
But it doesn’t end there! Many students keep in contact with myself and the teaching team, discussing their further aspirations to study for Master’s qualifications and some as far as PhD! Some of my students since completing further qualifications are now my work colleagues and I have the pleasure of working alongside them in their chosen careers.
…And now that I am also a Teaching Fellow for the Centre for Lifelong Learning, I am able to teach and support students as they make the transition from studying at college to studying at the University. Being part of the student journey is a privilege and I encourage anyone interested in the 2+2 course to contact the university or one of the partnership colleges to gather information and talk to someone from the 2+2 team, as it is never too late to study!
About the blogger
Natalie Purnell is a Teaching Fellow in the Centre for Lifelong Learning. She currently teaches on the 2+2 Social Studies and 2+2 Health and Social Policy degrees. She has previously taught and coordinated the 2+2 Social Studies degree in one of CLL’s partner colleges and has taught on a range of Access to Higher Education programmes.