Graduate Blog – Karine’s Story

It strange to think that 3 years ago I was just starting out my journey on BA Hons ECS and now I have graduated with a first-class degree. The road to success has been like a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs, twists and turns but every moment was worth it. As nothing worth having is ever going to be easy. I had to work hard, be dedicated, made sacrifices and faced adversity. And this is what people sometimes don’t see or understand.

So let me give you an insight into what it was like being at university and away from home in addition to living in a different country. Firstly, I am from Switzerland and my family lives there, but I was living and studying in Stoke on Trent England at Staffordshire University. I made the decision to come here as the higher education is considered to be one of the best in the world and the course that I study was in the top 5.  At first it was not easy for a couple of weeks as I was a little homesick and missed my family. My family means everything to me, especially my parents, siblings and grandparents. Despite the distance they have always been there for me and I have always been there for them. The toughest thing was hearing people in class talking about going home for the weekend and seeing their families or even going home during enhancement week when I could not go home until Christmas, Easter, Summer Holiday which was about 3-4 month at a time.  So, text messages and facetime really helped and sometimes even emails. Keeping regular contact with my family and going home at every opportunity I had really helped and gave me something to look forward to.

Secondly, it was a little hard to adjust to university life and been away from everything I knew at first however having a personal tutor that took the time to get to know me as an individual really made a difference. Personal tutors are there for a reason and this became clear during my time at university as they played a critical role in my academic, professional and personal journey. My personal tutor was very supportive and understanding and was always there no matter what. She provided me with guidance and advice. She knew when I was feeling upset or sad. She knew when I was happy and excited. Basically, she knew me so well that she knew when I was having a bad/good day there was no hiding anything form my personal tutor because we had a strong professional relationship and I trusted her. It was important for me to be able to know my personal tutor and other lecturers because they became a part of my support network. Having a support network in place when at university was vital to me overcoming adversity and reaching my full potential. The staff at Staffordshire university I have found that they go above and beyond their duties and truly cares and wants the best for each and every student. And the university provides so many different services.

Also been a student academic representative (STAR), been part of a Sunday league football team and both part of a Saturday league hockey league and playing field hockey for university has really helped. Been a busy bee all the time as really helped as I didn’t have time to think much about other things. My first year at university flew by and before I knew it I was in my second then 3rd year and graduating. I got given amazing opportunities to do CPD courses and develop myself as a professional I was able to do active kids, supporting reading in schools, and paediatric first aid, and went to the education and I got work experience Big Bang Fair/STEAM working with children to create a collaborative clay under the sea sculpture. I have a range of sporting background including swimming, I speak 3 languages a long with gaining a lot of experiences and knowledge during the end of my second year during summer holiday I got to go work in America in a girls scouts camp as a waterfront counsellor with girls ages 5-18 years old. Then at the start of 2018 I secured a summer job in a language camp as an activity instructor and lifeguard in England with children aged 12-17.

Karine  – BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies