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The Learning Institute

Nicolle's Diary #13: A whirlwind two years

I can officially say I am the proud owner of a Foundation Degree! I have held off on writing an update whilst the news sunk in. It has been a whirlwind two years, and I am so proud of myself and my course mates!

Little under three years ago I was doing a Level 2 Teaching Assistant course and being for all intents and purposes told off, I was writing in too much depth and ‘over complicating’ the assignments (yes I am rolling my eyes as I write this). The tutor suggested I would be better placed looking at a higher-level course. I thought she was just fed up with marking my work, but I gave it some serious thought. Well, what can I say…? I am still over-complicating assignments, at least in the initial planning stages and I would still write for England if I could (and if it were an Olympic Sport) but I have grown so much as a person!

The Learning Institute has given me so many opportunities, I have been given license to explore my interests both academically and professionally, speak in front of and to professionals within my chosen field, make friends I would never have made had I not taken the leap and my confidence has soared.

I recently was online with my course leader John and fellow student Vicky recording a sort of Q&A about the course. I was asked to identify one highlight of the degree – well, I failed. I could not simply identify one thing, so settled for two. First thing- the Student Conferences. In the first year these were a face-to-face event, we went down to Exeter where we proceeded to drive around a roundabout four or five times, I walked into a door (what a great first impression on my tutors) and I got to sit and have the most fascinating conversations with people from all walks of life, differing professions and experiences.

The second, was a module we did in our second year and the first time I realised how much I had grown as a person. I went to the relevant tutor and asked them if I could go “off-script” with the assignment, I was expecting a polite rejection and to be sent on my way- as already mentioned I have a history of tutors trying to rein me in. The tutor asked me how I would plan to meet the assignment brief if I took my chosen angle and then told me to go for it! The old me could write for Queen and country, but I would never have taken a risk like this.

In the past couple of weeks we have seen a celebratory event held online due to the #coronacoaster. It was an emotional affair, with poems, tutors singing, heart-felt messages and advice for the future. It was only at this point I truly grasped the magnitude of what I had achieved.

Now I am sat here with little under 2 months of summer to contend with, no assignments to write, sessions to attend and no idea what to do with myself! All I can say is I really am so proud of my cohort of fellow students and am really excited to see what’s to come as I embark on the BA Advancing Practice course in September!