As a mature student and parent, I had many apprehensions regarding my return to education. I had not written academically since my A ‘levels many years ago. I should not have worried; my peers were fantastic.
More about Simone
Why did you choose NTU and your course?
My previous career path has consisted of working with vulnerable client groups to reach their full potential both individually and in the community. A turning point in my career meant I was facing redundancy. I felt the time in my life had come to continue making a difference and to go back into full time education. Choosing NTU was instantaneous, my son is here, my family and my home, however, the choice of course was a little harder. It needed to suit my existing skills but also, I wanted to feel a connection to the content. After reading through the course content I dropped into the university and spoke to a specialist for more in-depth advice, Youth Justice was the course for me. The practical elements, the modules and how we would be taught suited my style of learning and I haven’t looked back!
Could you describe your experience of being an NTU student?
As a mature student and parent, I had many apprehensions regarding my return to education. I had not written academically since my A ‘levels many years ago. I should not have worried; my peers were fantastic. A mixture of young and mature with varying levels of life experience. It made the classes engaging and interesting. Despite lockdown I felt supported by staff and friends and now it is finally coming to an end I can honestly say I have enjoyed the experience so much! No regrets and aim high! I will miss everything and everyone, so much so I will be returning for my masters!
How would you describe the support from your tutors, university staff and student services?
The support I have experienced at NTU has been nothing short of crucial to my progression on the course. The level of financial support from student services has meant I can continue my studies without the worry and burden of not being able to pay my rent. The decisions were swift and explained my entitlement clearly. Having this financial assistance has meant everything to me. I could not have done these last 3 years without this.
The lecturers have become more than just lecturers, they are a support mechanism, they are caring and their willingness for you to become the best you can be was apparent from day one. I will be keeping intouch in the future and hope to share my successes!
During the pandemic my mental health suffered significantly. During this time my personal tutor referred me to student support for counselling sessions. The wait for this help was far quicker than a referral at the GP, I felt so supported at such a difficult time. I will never forget this.
Have you completed any work placements on your course? If so, tell us about your experience – where did you go, what did you do, what skills have you gained and what have you enjoyed the most?
Due to the pandemic, like many others on the course, our placements were not possible during this time, however, I do not feel I missed out. NTU had organised 2 weeks of guest speakers, these sessions were not only informative but interactive. Delivered over teams, the cameras made it feel as though we were together in person. I felt comfortable to ask questions as well as gaining an understanding in so many areas of interest such as counselling, working with challenging young people, coping mechanisms for challenging jobs and a discussion with a practitioner from a local youth offending team.
Do you have any advice for future students going on placement?
Always sell yourself positively, not only yourself but the university, these opportunities are a reflection on both you and who you are representing. Professionalism is crucial, ensure you are engaging at all times with enthusiasm, these sessions can potentially lead to positive networking and in turn future job prospects. Think outside of the box, if you haven’t got a job to do, think of one that will benefit the establishment as well as interest you!
Outside of the lecture theatre...
What three words would you use to describe Nottingham?
Where is a good place to eat, drink or visit in the city?
I am a foody! My mother is Italian so it is in my blood! I love World Service- The fine dining side of Nottingham but I also enjoy Yamas for Greek food or Tamatanga for an amazing curry! For drinks- If it is sunny Canal house by the water or Hockley Arts Club is really nice as is Cosy Club for lovely cocktails.
Did you find it easy to make friends and settle in at NTU?
I had many apprehensions due to my age! However, once I arrived everyone was so welcoming. During welcome week we had ice breakers and plenty of opportunity to speak to others and make new friends. The friendships I made during this period, I kept for the whole three years of the course and will continue these beyond.
The next steps...
Has the employability team helped you plan for life beyond NTU?
YES! I have had at least 4 sessions with employability as I was so unsure of next steps. Time is crucial for me and moving forward in the quickest way to my end goal means everything. Contacting employability through online chat is so easy, they triage and assess your query then book you with the most appropriate person. Elaine in this team helped me immensely on my journey to applying for my masters at NTU. I will be eternally grateful for her help.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of applying to NTU?
Look at everything holistically. The financial, emotional, and academic aspects of studying at this level must be considered. Prepare yourself for living away from home, come with an open mind and willingness to make friends and learn in tandem. If you need help ASK it is always there, don’t struggle in silence. Ensure that you choose the right course for you, study the content and modules included prior to applying.
What is one thing you wish you knew before starting at NTU?
Time Management is key! How to reference correctly! How quickly it goes…..enjoy every minute!