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Tell us a bit about your degree…

I am now in the third and final year of my degree and really don’t want it to come to an end. I originally chose the University of Chester to study Radio Production as a single honours degree until I realised I had the opportunity to combine it with something else, so I instantly chose Digital Photography. I have always loved taking photographs and studied photography for a year during college. Through the progression of my time at university, my passion for photography has grown even more as I’ve come to realise how much it can work around my disability. It has proved what I am able to achieve and allowed me to show and progress my creativity, regardless of my additional needs.  My timetable is very balanced and has been since the first year. The lectures have been really fun and creative since day one in both my modules! Even when it was about theory, the lecturers made sure they were interactive and got us involved and interested. There is always course content posted online and tutors always keep us updated with information, templates, examples of previous work, research, links etc..

The opportunities you get are amazing, for example, through radio, I was invited to the Student Radio Association (SRA) training day with a variety of guest speakers. Through this I was able to meet a presenter from The Hits Radio station in Manchester and by talking to him and networking, I have secured my first shadowing opportunity within a few months at Hits Radio.  

What advice would you give to a student looking to study this course at the University of Chester?

Get talking to other students as soon as possible, even if you are a commuting student like me, you can still access everything that happens on campus. I have always felt involved and able to go to campus events as the University lets out some of the accommodation rooms to commuting students.

Just enjoy every second - Go to the fresher’s fairs, go to each of your induction sessions, meet your PAT and get to know the campus. Get involved with sports and societies and have fun but be careful and only drink in moderation!

Make the most of your first subject sessions, these are the most important sessions that set you up for the next three years. The biggest advice I can give is to attend all lectures and start your work well in advance of the deadline. It really does make you feel better and it gives you a boost and motivation to carry on.

Have you taken part in any other activities outside of your studies?

I have got involved in so many activities outside of my studies! The biggest one being volunteering! The University offers an incredible facility for volunteering opportunities. They give you many opportunities across the region and tell you where you can help and who needs help. You list exactly what you are interested in, so you only get emailed volunteering opportunities for what you want to do and get involved in. Whilst you are volunteering you can log all your hours down which mount up and take you towards receiving awards. I currently have the highest award as I have volunteered with many charities over the past three years, taking my total number of hours to over 600. I mostly volunteer with Cheshire Phoenix Wheelchair basketball club in Ellesmere Port. By volunteering, I feel like I am giving back to the community and it is also important for your CV for future employment.

I also set up a wheelchair basketball club at the University and got involved as a Chester Difference Award volunteer. The Chester Difference Award is another aspect of building employability and being rewarded for it. Right from creating a LinkedIn profile, and depending on the task, the points can get higher and the more points you gain, the higher level of award you receive.

 I also got involved with the Student Council as a Visible Disability Rep and have been working hard making small changes around the University to make it more accessible for everyone.

Tell us the most important thing you will take away from your university experience?

The most important thing I will take away from my university experience is finding myself, who I am and what I want to do in life. I arrived as a scared, young girl who didn’t even want to go to the freshers’ fair because it was too busy. Through university I became a Student Ambassador, a Red T (a student that helps new students to move into university), someone who people could come to for help or advice. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone has gained me so many opportunities - I LOVE helping others, it brings joy to me and is my happy place!

How would you summarise your Chester story?

My time at the University has been one massive Chester Story, from being involved in the Chester Pride parade showcasing the University, wheeling up and receiving my valedictory award and doing Instagram takeovers during my Work Based learning, it has been one big fun rollercoaster ride of emotion, memories and friendships. I will never forget my time at the University of Chester because it taught me so much more than the subjects I went to learn. It has built me a massive skills toolkit and set me up for the rest of my life, it has built a better future for me and I’ve learnt some valuable life and employability skills and I thank every member of staff and volunteer for that.

How are you finding online learning during the current situation?

My lecturers are amazing, keeping us all up to date, we have had email conversations and video chats through Microsoft Teams, e-learning is just another memory to pocket. Our deadlines are still going ahead, and I am working hard. We were meant to be having a public exhibition as our final photography assessment, however, with the current situation, we are unable to do this, but we have been able to do this online digitally. The University is good at problem solving and that is what they are doing for us right now. We are in safe hands.

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undergraduate Warrington Campus