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PG DIPLOMA IN CAREER EDUCATION INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION (2018-19)

PG AWARDS (PGAS) (2018-19)

MA IN CAREER EDUCATION INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION (2018-19)

 

 

 

 

Our student blog

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Recently, the Centre for Lifelong Learning Team caught up with Taiwo Ogunrinde, former student of the Gateway to HE course who then progressed to a degree and is currently studying her second year of the full-time Social Studies Degree. She shares with us her seven tips for mature students and her inspiring journey to education.


Tip One: Don't doubt your ability to be in the University environment. Doubt means you should try, and you should push yourself beyond the doubt.

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Studying on the full-time Social Studies degree, Taiwo shares her lectures with a mixture of students from different paths and backgrounds. Some of these students are young adults who passed their A-levels with 3 A's.

"You always wonder, how will I fit in with them? How will I be capable of competing with them? But after speaking with Steve, who is also my personal tutor, he helped me deal with my fears. He told me no matter your background, the results speak for themselves from the work you put in."

Taiwo finished her first year successfully with an upper-class second honour, which included achieving a first in some of her modules, including for one of her creative assignments in which she wrote about her own background and experiences.

"We've got the mature student advantage," she says, "You've got life experience. You've gained this before starting your degree. I drilled my life experience into my essay and came out with a first."

Tip two: Do what you have a passion for and let it speak for you.

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"As mature student, we have a lot on," Taiwo advises, "Don't pick something labouring. If you study something you are passionate about, it won't feel like studying. Let that be your voice and lead you."

Now entering her second year, Taiwo has majored in Health and Social Policy and has started to consider her future after finishing her degree.

"When I finished Gateway, I knew I could carry on to do a degree. Now seeing my results from my first year, I am starting to think I could go further."

"I would probably specialise in the research side of health."

Tip Three: Give it your all, don't hold back, there has got be to compromise, leave life behind to concentrate on it.

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Starting the Gateway to HE course in 2016, the mum of two joined the free course whilst pregnant with her third child.

"I had my baby 5 weeks after my Gateway exam. But I was determined to get a good result and I achieved a First."

When her baby was 3 months old, she returned back to the books, starting her undergraduate degree at the University. Juggling the school run, family life and studying, Taiwo sings the praises of her supportive family and husband.

"On the days I didn't feel like going to University, he was the one who was pushing me out the door – telling me to pick myself up and go. He has been very supportive and helpful with the kids. I am very lucky."

Taiwo's eldest who is now 8, is also inspired by his mother's educational journey and has decided he wants to pursue study at University himself.

"I occasionally take my children to campus with me just to have an experience, so they are familiar with Warwick. My eldest has worked out how many years it will take him to complete a degree, masters and PhD study. He wants to be a professor."

Tip Four: Believe in yourself, ignore your past exam results. That was then, now is a new chapter.

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"Failure does smash your confidence. Seeing your results will help you build your confidence again. Gateway helped. It showed me the results I could achieve."

The Gateway to HE, which runs twice a year part-time, teaches classes in an informal style, allowing students to settle back into study. Senior Teaching Fellow, Dr Steve Gascoigne, who teaches the Gateway course, himself came to University in later life after working in the automotive industry. His story inspired Taiwo, and this helped her drive to study a degree. He is now also her personal tutor in her Social Studies degree.

"Steve's story inspired me, he was open and honest about his own background and how he came to Warwick as a mature student. How he worked hard to get here. That inspired me."

Tip Five: Keep trying, nothing is a waste of time. 

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Moving to the United Kingdom in 2005, Taiwo originally started studying at the University in 2007 with the Centre for Lifelong Learning, but could not progress to a full-time degree due to the cost of international fees.

Despite this, she remained highly motivated and studied several online courses including a Level 3 Diploma with Oxford College whilst working part-time and managing family life.

"I needed to keep my mind going academically. I was fuelled with a passion to study."

Keen to return to study at Warwick, Taiwo checked the Warwick University website regularly and found the Gateway to HE course.

"You find a class with people similar to you." She says. "Parents who have been to school before, people who simply struggled because life got in the way."

Three weeks into studying the Gateway to HE course, Taiwo found out about one of the University of Warwick Scholarship Award schemes, awarded to a small number of students depending on their background and personal circumstances.

"I was advised it was for A level students originally, but I applied anyway. I then pushed myself in Gateway to achieve the highest grades possible, so I had more chances of getting a scholarship."

"I didn't want to believe I had got it, I didn't get too attached to the application just in case. My husband kept checking my email as he was more excited than I was. I was silent for 5 minutes in shock. I am very thankful."

Tip Six: All your hard work will pay off eventually

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Taiwo's time at Warwick has been an eventful journey so far. Juggling family life and welcoming a new child into the world is a lot to take on whilst also returning to fulltime study. However, her determination and motivation to study at Warwick and achieve her degree have helped her balance her commitments and push herself further.

"I'm enjoying studying the degree." She says. "I do everything I can with essays and help my family."

At home, she balances family life with late night library sessions, putting the kids to bed and then heading out to the library.

"At home, I am a mum; in the library, I am a student. I separate the two."

Taiwo believes that being a mature student has helped her appreciate how far she has come and how hard she has had to work to achieve what she has. This has impacted her outlook on studying and making the most out of her time at Warwick. She hopes to achieve very good grades in her degree.

"Coming from my background, I am aware of what I've achieved, what I have gained, and it pushes me more to not only maintain what I have but also continuously progress further."

Tip Seven: Don't be reluctant to ask for help. Everyone is approachable and very helpful including the lecturers.

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"In my time at Warwick so far, I've had to re-learn about asking for help. I'm used to doing things myself because I left home at a very young age. And this reflected in other areas too.

"I remember during our induction week last year, one thing the CLL team told us repeatedly was to always ask for help whenever we need it, ranging from family to essays. And each time I got stuck, I will drop a quick email to my lecturers, or book an appointment to see someone in the wellbeing team or with my personal tutor, and each of those helped me greatly."

Feeling inspired by Taiwo’s advice? Find out more about our courses on our website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joining the Centre for Lifelong Learning is both an exciting and nervous time, especially for students returning to education after a long period of time or students who are taking the next step in furthering their education. To help with your next step, our students have come up with their top tips on joining CLL.

"Never give up hope, you can achieve more than you think right at this point! Stay positive, drink coffee – lots of it!"
Current 2+2 student at Coventry College, starting the 2nd year.

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"Learning grid in Uni house is a great place to study. It’s generally quiet and often got pcs available."
2+2 Degree Pathway Graduate 2018

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"If you have any issues or concerns whether personal or medical talk to Elaine Moore, [CLL's Student Welfare Officer] she does help! Don't suffer in silence that can affect your grades. Also, see your personal tutor mine was very helpful."
2+2 Degree Pathway Graduate 2018

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"Another top tip is, if you are at a partner college, particularly in year 2, come across to campus when you can so you are familiar with it. Come year 3 you will be glad you did. You can find the study spots that suit you, the best places for a snack and of course all the shortcuts from building to building."
2+2 Degree Pathway Graduate 2018

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"Check out the shuttle bus"
2+2 Degree Pathway Graduate 2018

[connects you from Westwood Campus, the home of CLL, to the main campus where your lectures are, study areas, main bus stops and also travels to Canley station if you commute via train.]

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"Love the library. It's your new best friend. And librarians know everything.

"Seriously though – book a 1:1 with a librarian early on- they can show you how to do journal searches, use the catalogue, find books etc. which will become extremely useful, broaden your readings, and save you hours when writing on a deadline."
2+2 Degree Pathway Graduate 2018

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“Talk to other students when you're feeling unsure and that you're the only one who didn't understand the lecture. You'll usually find they feel the same. + Get to know the students in the year above as they can offer invaluable support and tips.”
2+2 Degree Pathway, starting the 4th (final) year

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"Make use of the free ITS training – it’s well worth the time invested could save you time and stress in the long run. I found them really useful: Word long documents, Excel, SPSS, EndNote and particularly OneNote."
2+2 Degree Pathway Graduate 2017, current postgraduate student

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More information for students preparing to join CLL can be found on our website.
If you’re considering joining CLL there is still time! Book in for an informal chat with us about your options, http://bit.ly/2vcEn6f or call 02476524617.

Surrey campus is all quiet with the students having finished for the year, and many of the students our office have spent the year helping find a placement are beginning to start their year of work. However, a new module has started for me so it's back to study…

Last month I attended the three-day residential for the compulsory CEIGHE module Challenges of Careers Work in Higher Education. This module looks at an overview of the wider context of where Higher Education careers work takes place. At the residential we looked at a range of topics, from stakeholders, to personal challenges in our roles, to student expectations, as well as wider external factors of labour market and policy influences, and of course economic and political changes (it goes without saying that Brexit unknowns got a mention). It was interesting to look at both the internal and external influencers of challenges myself and my colleagues face in our roles, and how we might look to respond and change to try to keep delivering our services effectively.

There were a mix of people from different Universities at the residential, in a variety of roles, such as Careers Advisors, and staff from areas of Placements and Employer Engagement. Having a chance to connect with others is a great benefit I have found from these residentials so far. You have the opportunity to share best practice and to reflect a bit more on how you, and your place of work, are supporting students. It enables you to sit outside of your own University bubble for a few days and listen to different perspectives. I have also found that it is good for approaching the distance studying, as it helps you to assess and reflect on what you do know and understand already, but also what topics you are less familiar with so that you can place a focus on those areas when it comes to the module reading.

With this being the third module for me now, I do feel it has become less daunting to work out how to approach the studying. I am able to look ahead at what is required for that module, in terms of volume of reading and assignment questions, and begin to plan a little schedule of study. This hasn't come without some trial and error to begin with, when working out how much time is needed for reading and draft writing. However, I realise this is part of the learning curve of returning to study, and I am proud to be nearing the mid-way point now of my diploma.

So assuming this glorious sunshine doesn't make my brain too useless, I am aiming in July to get ahead on plans for assignment number three!

 

About the author

Rose LeekRose Leek is a paid blogger for CLL.

I relocated back near my hometown last year in Surrey, after a decade living near the sea in East Kent. I work in a University Employability & Careers Centre, assisting engineering and science students onto a placement year as part of their degree, and providing administrative support to their academic tutors.

I started the Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Education, Information and Guidance in Higher Education (CEIGHE) in October 2017 and am looking forward to developing a wider awareness of the service I work within, and increasing my confidence and understanding.

I have experienced a year with lots of change, and it is both exciting and daunting to be adding studying back into my life. I have never written a blog and my reasoning for doing so is the hope that it will help me to better reflect on, and share, my experience as a CEIGHE student. My course is mainly distance taught, with a few residential workshops per year. I wanted to also try to share the perspective of being a distance student, and how I will (hopefully!) learn to juggle the balance of study, work and home.

I look forward to the journey ahead!

And if all else fails, maybe the cat can do some of my studying for me?
cat

Learning is the "acquisition of knowledge or skill through study, experience or being taught" (Oxford English Dictionary).

My definition, which is perhaps not as concise: "learning is receiving information, making sense of it, understanding it and being able to apply it"

One of the assignments on the CLL Gateway course is to research a topic and present your findings to the class. As I am enjoying learning new things I decided to look at the theory and practise of learning, here are some of the things I found.

It has long been acknowledged that people have learning preferences. Individuals have a better chance of understanding information if it is presented to them in a favourable format. In its simplest form this would be either seeing it, hearing it or doing it themselves.

Neil Fleming wrote extensively about learning theory and describes four main preferences, he uses the acronym VARK:

Visual – Images, photographs, diagrams, video and illustrations.

Auditory – Lectures, podcasts, group discussions, verbal Q+A, recital of key points.

Read/Write – Written text, lists, note taking and further reading

Kinaesthetic – Hands on learning, role play, models, practical experiments

Some people respond well to a blend of these methods, but most have a bias toward one or two preferences. It can be useful to know what your preferences may be, so you can look for the information in a more suitable package e.g. listening to an audiobook rather than reading the text, taking an active part in discussions with your fellow students instead of studying in isolation. Draw diagrams and flow charts to illustrate theories or put theories into context by weaving them into a story of events linked to people. The are many possibilities.

Flemings VARK questionnaire is available to try at:  http://vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire/

The research that resonated more with my personal learning was David Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle. Kolb maintains that one cannot learn without first having an Experience. Following this Experience is a period of Reflective Observation where the learner makes sense of the event and gains an understanding of what has happened. Conceptualisation is next, where the learner concludes, makes amendments and forms the idea into a concept to try out in the last stage which is Active Experimentation, applying the new idea to form the next experience. Then start again and the cycle continues.

Having read this theory it's clear to me that I spend a lot of time in Reflective Observation. Its useful to have this insight and now I can plan this into my study time.

There are many more learning style theories to look at, some linked with personality types and some with basic tests that can be done to help identify how you might learn more efficiently.

I will leave you with the same question I started with,

How do you learn?

About the Author

Steve Lock

I'm Steve Lock and I'm on the Gateway to Higher Education at CLL. I'm not an academic, I've been employed in practical roles throughout my working life. I've been in the Armed Forces and now work in the Emergency Services. My next personal challenge is education, have a look at my blog to see how I'm getting on…..

Last week I attended the 'Introduction to Guidance Interviewing' residential at Warwick, delivered by AGCAS*. This does not form part of my PG Diploma, but is a good introductory session prior to enrolling (hopefully!) onto the Advanced Guidance Skills module towards the end of my CEIGHE, and AGCAS deliver many of the residentials within the CEIGHE.

I found this introductory course to be an incredibly positive learning experience, and a great opportunity to explore and reflect on how I currently support students in my work.

The course was split into two days. We were a group of six, all engaged in different HE Careers service roles. The first day covered a range of information, such as career theories and models of guidance interviewing. Through role play in the group we were able to start putting new skills to the test. On day two we then each carried out a recorded, and group observed, one-to-one 30 minute guidance interview with a current University of Warwick student, bringing their real concerns and questions to the conversation.

The course was beneficial for reflecting on my current support to students, for testing my interest in more in-depth guidance interviewing, and for the opportunity to network with others involved in HE Careers work.

The course made me reflect on how I currently speak with students, and my dominant focus to give information, a drive to provide practical steps for a student to take in securing a placement. This can be helpful for placements, as students often request suggestions on how to improve their placement prospects, and they have a time limit within the year on securing a role. However, it may not always give a cautious or less confident student time, or the sense that it is a space in which they can, unravel deeper concerns or questions surrounding work experience. It becomes easy to view the placement year as a short-lived early experience of working life. However, at that time in a student's journey a placement year can be a very big decision. Some students have never worked before, some may have never experienced a world outside of home and education. Jumping into a full-time role where their degree knowledge is put to the test, the student is faced with the learning curve of work etiquette and culture, and a whole new routine. Whilst some students throw themselves into the recruitment process and their subsequent placement experience, it can be easy to overlook that a student who seems less engaged about applying for placements may have deeper worries about work experience that they feel nervous to express. Some students may also find it hard to see the placement year in isolation, placing pressure onto themselves about what it means for the bigger picture of their graduate hopes, rather than seeing it as a positive opportunity to gain experience, and learn about the working world.

The course has made me consider how I can approach differently these interactions with students, and not rush straight into information giving. I hope this will enable me to put some of the skills from this course into action, and better develop my support for students in the placement process.

In relation to my CEIGHE, the course was a confidence boost that I am interested in guidance support to students on their career development and awareness. Spending time around students who are looking at placements to gain wider insight and understanding of an area of work, I feel in turn this two-day course provided me with a similar opportunity to gain some insight into different ways of working.

*The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (www.agcas.org.uk)

About the author

Rose LeekRose Leek is a paid blogger for CLL.

I relocated back near my hometown last year in Surrey, after a decade living near the sea in East Kent. I work in a University Employability & Careers Centre, assisting engineering and science students onto a placement year as part of their degree, and providing administrative support to their academic tutors.

I started the Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Education, Information and Guidance in Higher Education (CEIGHE) in October 2017 and am looking forward to developing a wider awareness of the service I work within, and increasing my confidence and understanding.

I have experienced a year with lots of change, and it is both exciting and daunting to be adding studying back into my life. I have never written a blog and my reasoning for doing so is the hope that it will help me to better reflect on, and share, my experience as a CEIGHE student. My course is mainly distance taught, with a few residential workshops per year. I wanted to also try to share the perspective of being a distance student, and how I will (hopefully!) learn to juggle the balance of study, work and home.

I look forward to the journey ahead!

And if all else fails, maybe the cat can do some of my studying for me?
cat