My name is Evie, I am 23 years old and I am local to Scarborough, having lived here my whole life. I wanted to share my university experience with other students to help them learn more about what it is like to go to a university in your local area.
After finishing school I attended my local Sixth Form College where I studied A-level English Literature, Geography and Art Textiles. Unlike the rest of my friends, when I achieved my A-Level results I was still unsure of the direction I wanted to go in and was reluctant to go to University to study something without being certain. This is why I then decided to get an Apprenticeship, to allow me to earn money whilst learning and to give me a few more years to decide what I wanted to do in the future.
I decided to pursue an Apprenticeship in Hairdressing as I am quite a creative person and wanted to learn a skilled trade which I could then have for the rest of my life. I completed my Apprenticeship through Saks Hair and Beauty which is a national franchise offering in-house training (rather than attending college one day per week like most Apprenticeships). This role provided me with lots of opportunities which I would not have normally had working in the local area, for example; I worked backstage at The Clothes Show Live in Birmingham where we did the model’s hair for the runway and also offered a ‘pop-up’ salon for visitors to get their hair done too. We got to meet celebrities (like Joey Essex!) backstage and then we all went to after-parties on the night, which was very tiring after working for 12 hours! It was a great experience and working in such an intense, high-pressure environment really helped me build my confidence and learn to think on my feet.
Unfortunately, after completing my Apprenticeship in the September I was made redundant. This made me re-assess what I wanted to do moving forward. I had always been keen to pursue a career in the Education sector and luckily for me, CU Scarborough had just opened nearby which offered November intakes for new students. Because I had the skills that I learnt through my Apprenticeship, I was able to work as a mobile hairdresser to earn an income whilst studying. I chose to study Early Childhood Development and Learning in particular as, at the time, I thought I wanted to work in a Primary School. I thoroughly enjoyed my course and it provided me with the skills and knowledge I need to work in the education sector today, such as safeguarding and working with students with additional needs. Despite the course being called ‘Early Years’, I have found that most of the content applies to working with students of all ages which really helped me in my future jobs.
During my course I completed a number of work placements, and through this I realised that I was more suited to working with older students. In my final year whilst completing my dissertation, I decided to get a part-time job as a teaching assistant alongside my studies. This was very challenging as the workload in the final year is quite heavy, however I was determined to do well so I made sure I didn’t fall behind with my studies. Through this job I found that I really enjoyed working with young adults, especially those with additional needs who required extra support.
After completing my dissertation in April, I bought my first home in May and then I graduated with a First in July which I was so pleased about! Many people feel that it is not the ‘same’ going to University in your local area and they are right, it is a completely different experience, however that is not a negative thing. I feel that going to University in my local area allowed me to work, live at home and save up to buy a house; something I would have been unable to do if I had moved elsewhere. I didn’t get the same experience as I would have done if I had gone to University in a city, such as the nightlife, attending large lectures and living independently; instead, I had very small class sizes which allowed me to focus more intensely on my studies and therefore I was able to balance work and study. The small class sizes also meant that you built good relationships with your tutors and others on your course, this helped me a lot as I was able to chat to them about the assignments and ask for support when needed.
I now work at CU Scarborough as the FutureHY Outreach Assistant. This role involves me working with the various schools, colleges and community groups in the local area, delivering sessions, workshops and taking students on trips to learn more about their future options - which is perfect for me! I really enjoyed my university experience, and now I love working there, as unlike larger universities, it feels more like a small community.
My top tip for students considering going to University is – don’t feel like you have to do the same as your friends, everyone is different, with different learning styles and different goals in life. Do what is right for YOU, whether that is moving away to live independently, or studying locally; think about your goal and work towards achieving that.< Back to all news stories