During my final year of A-Levels I decided that I wanted to go to university. I had very little knowledge of university, other than it’s like one massive party, likewise to lots of my friends. My mum and I concluded that the best thing to do would to be to attend open days at the different universities which I took an interest in, to get a feel for them and find out more information.
After a visiting a number of universities, I found that Plymouth Marjon University had a very different and positive feel in comparison to the others I had visited, and this is what this blog is about.
Everyone finds the right university for them, it is inevitable. I cannot stress enough how important it is to visit the university you are interested in before you apply. This might have to be a virtual visit for now.
Ever since I was young, I had always aspired to become a primary school teacher, so I did the classic Google search for universities which offered teacher training courses. I spoke to a number of different lecturers and support staff where I was studying about whether they knew of any particularly good universities for teaching training. Many of them suggested looking at Marjon, further stating that it has been known for years for their exceptional teaching training.
Interestingly at first, Marjon was never an option for me because it is only an hour and a half away from my hometown. I wanted to go further afield to get the ‘full university experience’. However, after looking at the education courses they had to offer and the exceptional standards that they held, I was curious to visit the university and get a feel for it. I was told not to rule it out because of the distance, because the bottom line of university is gaining high-quality further education.
I found that Marjon conveyed such a happy atmosphere and all members of staff and students that I encountered were particularly friendly towards my mum and I. This university was significantly smaller than the other universities I had visited. The atmosphere and the warm, welcoming feel I experienced immediately won me over.
Within the first half an hour of my visit, I was approached by two different people who were of completely different sectors of the university – one being a member of staff of the sports department and the other being a Student Ambassador. They appeared to have a lot of interest in where I had travelled from and what I was interested in. I did not experience this personal touch at any other university. They both held lengthy conversations that were highly informative.
Even though there was a lot of building work going on around the campus, I was able to find out what was being built and what changes the university would be undergoing in the next academic year, for instance, a new and improved student bar and canteen area. The existing canteen was open, and the food menu seemed fantastic. Marjon was going under renovation and this was super exciting for me – brand new, modern areas for students use, which shows that this university cares about their students.
Having applied for Marjon as my first university choice and receiving an offer for the course I wanted to be on, ‘BEd (Hons) Primary Education,’ I was motivated to work extremely hard in my last year of A-Levels to achieve the universities desired grades for the course. Fortunately, I achieved the grades and I got into Marjon. This feeling was amazing. I was finally able to leave home and start a new chapter in my life.
The beauty of university is that you can attend at whatever age is appropriate for you. I went from A-Levels straight to university; whereas, some people like to have a gap year or two and some people who never considered going to university when they were younger decide to become a mature student and return to education.
On my course, we had a mixed age cohort of around 40-50 students. All of us attended lectures together and then we would be divided into smaller groups for numerous seminars throughout the three years of training. This provided chances for us to socialise with different people on our course, allowing us to make different friendship and study groups.
Not only did my course provide a community feel, but the other people attending Marjon who were on a variety of different courses did too. There were those who lived in the same halls of residence as me in my first year and the Marjon student village in my second and third year, there are the sporting people, those who attend social events and members of staff who all contribute to the warm atmosphere.
Marjon provides you with so many opportunities to meet and socialise with people in all years of their study, which was a real highlight for me at Marjon, I never felt alone, and I always knew a friendly face wherever I was on campus.
All students unite at Marjon in so many ways. Socialising has allowed me to develop different circles of friends including my house mates and neighbours, my netball team and netball club, my course friends and my friends from home that I have kept in contact with. Friendship is so important during your time at university, it enhances your experience for all kinds of reasons, including making memories and enjoyment, but also for support and advice.
I led a number of tours around the campus for prospective students in my part-time job as a Student Ambassador. One of the things I like to mention is that Marjon is big enough for you to commit to your studies however, it also small enough to make connections with students across all years of their studies. I found that there is a feeling of unity at any Marjon social event I attended.
To summarise, if you are looking for a smaller university, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere, Marjon is the place for you. I have met so many amazing people at Marjon, whom will be in my life forever. It is a fantastic place to carry out your studies, and no matter what age you are and what background you have come from, you will feel accepted. Marjon will always stay very close to my heart, as we say here, “You are my Marjon”.
Thank you to Molly King for writing this.