Gateway to HE: Social Studies – Course Starts and First Night Nerves! – OurWarwick

Gateway to HE: Social Studies – Course Starts and First Night Nerves!

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Following on from my last blog (20Feb17), having been delighted to be offered a place on the Centre for Lifelong Learning (CLL) Gateway course, I became a little nervous as the first night approached. My Gateway course is the one from Nov to May on Tuesday evenings 6pm to 9pm, the other Gateway course also runs on a Tuesday, Apr-Aug, 10am to 1pm.

I was keen to see who my fellow students would be, and hoped I wouldn’t look out of place (too old, not knowledgeable enough etc.). I knew my course would be in Ramphal building so I drove over to the Uni beforehand just to get my bearings. As I would be going straight from work and arriving with not much time to spare before the course started I wanted to see where I was going. I looked on the interactive map which was so useful, and great for working out carparking too.

Having arrived on the night I made my way to the room, and waited. As the room began filling up it was great to see a real mix of people, and all age ranges too. There was a bit of nervous chatting (or maybe that was just me).

Our tutor Steve Gascoigne arrived, and very quickly made us feel welcome. He gave us a brief overview of the course, and then asked us to pair up and just chat to that person to get to know a little about them. From there we were put into groups of four or five. It was a great ice-breaker, just to talk to others about who we were, why we were there and so on.

In the first few weeks we chose an article to discuss in a group, we looked in more detail at the course contents, we were given an article or two to read and then discuss in a group. Each time we had different groups, this worked very well to get us to all talk to each other.

To my delight the others in the group were pretty much like me, they hadn’t been able to go into Higher Education for a variety of reasons, very much felt they would like to now, and this course was a fantastic opportunity to open a potential path to do just that.

The four weeks leading up to Christmas were a mixture of group discussions, learning about Referencing (something which students take for granted, but us mature students are mostly not familiar with), and visiting the library. We were allocated ITS accounts and University of Warwick student ID cards (need those for accessing the library). There is nothing like having a University email address to make you feel like a proper student, time to consider those student discounts that I have seen advertised but have never been eligible for.

We were visited by Caroline, Programme Coordinator for CLL, she was very helpful in telling us more about the course, and that she would be back to talk to us again in a few weeks about the degree itself. We saw members of the Marketing team and learnt about opportunities to be a Student Blogger, and a Student Ambassador too if we were interested.

It became clear that not only could we attend the weekly Gateway course, but there were lots of opportunities to embrace University life too if we wanted. This piqued my interest, I may have missed out years ago, but I certainly wasn’t going to let anything stop me from enjoying life at Warwick now.

Next time…

  • What I volunteered for and why
  • What have we covered so far on the Gateway course
  • What is it like to juggle working full-time and studying too

Alison x

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