My practical animal unit lessons have been the most enjoyable as being able to learn how to handle such a wide variety of animals from ferrets to snakes to a whip scorpion, has been such an exciting and eye-opening experience.
More about Eli
Why did you choose to study your course at Brackenhurst?
I chose to take on an Access to HE course as I wasn’t in education for a while, but I was keen on getting back into doing something animal related. The course not only gives me time to get back into learning but we have access to amazing facilities. Such as, the Animal Unit and where I can get hands-on practice. It has given me countless hours of experience and knowledge that will forever be valuable and memorable.
Tell us more about your course. What do you enjoy studying the most?
As I am on an animal course, my priority was getting hands-on experience with the range of animals on site. My practical animal unit lessons have been the most enjoyable as being able to learn how to handle such a wide variety of animals from ferrets to snakes to a whip scorpion, has been such an exciting and eye-opening experience that I would not have expected to be able to do so often and so quickly.
What do you think about the facilities available on your course and what do you use the most?
The facilities on my course have been so open to anyone that needs to utilise them, if you’re wanting to spend a whole evening or night in the library finishing an assignment, you can, if you want to volunteer at the Animal Unit and get real working experience you can. I’ve valued the Animal Unit the most, I’ve always been intrigued by weird and wonderful species, and getting to take care of them has never been something I thought would be available at a typical college or university campus.
What do you think about Brackenhurst Campus? What do you get up to in your spare time?
The campus is great for having access to nature, there are many walks to go on where you can find a variety of animals and plants as well as if you want to have a chill day. For socializing, the campus has an onsite bar, societies, and sports clubs to join. I personally spend my free time volunteering at the animal unit so that I can get hundreds of hours of experience doing animal husbandry and management. Not only do I find it fun, but it is a terrific way to get volunteering experience that is valuable for a future animal career. I also make use of the Southwell Leisure Centre which is a few minutes walk away and go to the gym 6 days a week.
Have you had any support from other departments? How was your experience accessing these/ was the service helpful?
As someone with Aspergers that also struggles with ADHD and anxiety, I was worried I might not fit in, or I might struggle to get anything done and manage, but having access to Student Support as well as just being in a friendly and fun environment has made me feel like the boundaries I had for myself have gotten much easier to break through and has helped me to deal with the struggles that used to overcome me.
What is your top tip for someone considering studying at Brackenhurst Campus?
For anyone coming on campus to do an animal course, I would recommend being prepared for sometimes getting muddy, rainy, or sweaty. The sky is the limit of the range of things you get to do, from chasing sheep to brushing donkeys. If someone wants to come onto a course here my main tip is to not be afraid to ask a lecturer or other students for guidance on anything, everyone wants to help, and they will provide if asked and it will help your struggles or concerns. As someone that also lives on-site, if you can do so I would highly recommend it especially if you are wanting to volunteer as it is much easier to get to where you need to be and getting in quality volunteering hours helps with your qualifications. Being able to live on campus is great for letting you sleep in more as you are not getting up as early to travel, as well as getting experience the best student life.
Have you been involved in any placements, work experience or volunteering as part of your course? If so, what did you do and what did you achieve?
Since the start of my course, I have volunteered on days when I do not have lectures. Some days I do dog walking for an hour and a half, or sometimes I get to feed the snakes on a Friday afternoon which is always special. I have achieved so much in getting the confidence and knowledge on how to care for so many varieties of animals that I am certain for the career path I want to go in is the right one and that I have the skills to take it on.
Why would you recommend your course to someone considering studying it?
I recommend the Access to HE course if you really are unsure if you can handle a learning environment again, this course will show you all the ways in which you really can come back into education, and before you realise it, you are halfway through the year and have experienced so many things you never would have thought. You have gone on field trips, worked in the labs, and handled animals you didn’t even know existed.
What are your plans for after the course and how do you feel your course has/ will help you to achieve that goal?
After this course, my plan is to go on to do another degree course at NTU, specifically Zoo Biology. I am confident after the Access to HE course that I can progress with learning and achieving what I want so that my future career with animals will be bright and attainable.
Honestly, getting into being a student again and thinking I would be lost on what to do or where to go made me anxious if I could really do it, but being surrounded by kind, funny, passionate people really lights a fire in you that makes all your worries go away and I never would have thought I would get to experience what I have, it has been a change in my life that has been so special.