I have lived in the quiet and quaint little town of Tunbridge Wells, Kent all my life, so coming to Leeds was quite a shock! However, I love the city and wouldn’t have changed my choice for anything. I studied for A-Levels in English Lit., Psychology and French at school with no clear path set for my future.
Why I chose to study BA Childhood Studies at Leeds
The Childhood Studies course at Leeds offers such a diverse range of modules that it enabled me to explore different topics in depth and decide on those that interested me most. I was keen to graduate from a Russell Group university that ranks highly for student satisfaction in the league tables. The campus is also only a short walk from Leeds city centre, which is amazing!
I have always enjoyed being around children but had never considered making a career out of it until I came across the course at Leeds. I knew I didn’t want to work in childcare so thought I would also be restricted to working in another field and only volunteering with children through youth groups. The degree has allowed me to explore different avenues and I am now looking to pursue a career in social work, working with children regularly. I volunteer as a qualified leader of rainbows, brownies and guides with Girlguiding UK. Being able to make connections between the theories I learn in lectures and what I witness whilst working with these girls really motivates me.
Childhood Studies is a fast-moving field and the course and the lecturers really push us to think critically and question both new and existing theories. This creates the opportunity to debate in lectures, which can be really interesting. Furthermore, the course is so flexible; if you have a specific interest, you are encouraged to pursue it. Every year we are given the opportunity to take an elective (or ‘discovery’) module which can be in anything, and this means I get the opportunity to broaden my knowledge.
The School of Education is always so supportive of our studies, and has a computer cluster just for Education students. There is also a common room where there is almost always biscuits out and where we can either socialise or work. The University has so many facilities on campus. There are two main libraries where you can access thousands of resources for your assignments and there are silent study areas or group work areas. The libraries are also open 24 hours a day during exam periods which is really useful!
The student support in the school is very strong. First-year students are timetabled Peer-Assisted-Study-Sessions which are led by trained second and third years students. I was a leader last year and will be one again this coming year. These sessions offer a relaxed and confidential environment where we can discuss work, social, money or housing issues, plus a lot more! The Student Support Officer is amazing, and really takes an interest in the students on a one-to-one level. He is always nominating us for different events and sending us details on opportunities we might be interested in. He is really approachable and will always make time for you.
Outside of Studying
As I mentioned, I am a rainbow and brownie leader in Leeds. I love working with the children and it is a really nice chance to get to know some local people – the children and their parents as well as the other leaders. We meet weekly and lead lots of fun and educational activities for the girls. We also go on lots of trips and overnight stays – we’re even going to Flamingo Land in the summer!
I am also organising a trip to Uganda this summer for older members of Girlguiding UK. Along with 3 other leaders, I am taking 14 girls aged 13-17 years to work with a rural development charity for 3 weeks. It is an incredible responsibility but I hope the experience will really broaden the girls’ horizons. Furthermore, as a team we are hoping to make a sustainable difference to the lives of the locals we meet.
Life in Leeds
The concurrence of old and new architecture in the centre of Leeds is beautiful and there are so many attractions – from the shops and restaurants to the armouries and museums to city centre parks. There is always some sort of event happening in Leeds, whether it’s a festival, market, show or family attraction. There is also an amazing nightlife with something for everyone. I don’t want to leave!
My Advice to Prospective Students
The course is unique. It really makes the most of the lecturers’ knowledge and expertise so we cover a wide range of topics with support from leading academics. The course has allowed me develop my knowledge and as a result, I have made my career choice!
I hope to be accepted onto a graduate scheme which would qualify me to practice Social Work and leave me with a Masters, furthering my education. I had never considered Social Work before I started my degree at Leeds but the career services introduced me to this graduate programme that really sparked my interest. I know my school and the lecturers will fully support me with my application and I hope I can make them proud!