My experience so far
Hello, my name is Evie, I’m 26 and am studying for the Early Years Professional Foundation Degree. I’m currently in my first year of study and have been immensely enjoying it.
I first qualified to work in the Early Years sector eight years ago and wanted to extend my knowledge of the practice for the benefit of both myself and the children, so a degree course felt like the right option for myself. I had heard from previous students about the degrees and the blended approach seemed to suit my needs well. With the mix of face to face learning, online sessions and work based elements ensured I could study but still work on a full time basis which was essential for me.
There was a lot of support available when I was applying and enrolling on the course, I received plenty of emails in due time and at appropriate stages from admissions with important information and, of course, Caley (who is always happy to help) at the end of a phone to put my mind at ease. It didn’t take too long to apply, within one afternoon I had applied for both the course and student finance and heard back about my application status within about a week.
Before beginning the course, I was very nervous and apprehensive about studying again. I was mostly worried about coping with the workload and having a sensible work/life balance on top my already very busy and demanding job. The worry that I wouldn’t be clever enough to complete a degree was also weighing heavily on my mind. However, by the end of the first couple of sessions my mind had been put at ease as I settled into being a student again. I began to realise I enjoyed studying and was surrounded not only by supportive tutors who are happy to help and ensure we are completely confident with any assignments we are undertaking, but also empathetic students who are always there to ease each other’s worries. It was soon very clear we all wanted to achieve our goals and see others do well too. Help and support is always available at anytime whether it be from my friends I have made, my PAT, the course leader, the module tutor or even the module leader.
Whilst learning during a pandemic has had some challenges, like technological issues and the lack of physical sessions, it has been a highly enjoyable experience so far. Even though we haven’t all met yet in “real life”, I feel that we have all made friends as a student group and that we definitely haven’t missed out too much on the social side of university life. One of the ways TLI have ensured we still have the experiences we would normally have has been through holding the conferences online and have been a massive highlight for myself personally. The variety of shared knowledge from both tutors from TLI and the University of Worcester has been invaluable and I can’t wait to attend again next year, whether it be face to face or online. The organisers of the event really took on board the feedback from the first conference, making the second even better!
The pandemic has been a struggle for plenty of people, myself included, and there were times I have found studying hard but with support from the tutors and my fellow students, I have got myself through any issues I have had, both personal and academic. On the plus side, it has given me more time to study and complete tasks which I may not have had otherwise!
If anyone was to ask me whether they should apply for these courses I would say absolutely go for it!! If I can do this and succeed (which I already feel I am doing, I have got good grades, my self confidence has grown and my practice improved) then anyone can. The tutors and your fellow students will make sure no one falls behind and you will be supplied with all the academic tools you need. I just wish I had done this earlier as it is the best thing I have ever done. I promise you won’t regret it!