Student Name: Lucy Cowan
Course: Education Studies (Primary)
Year of Course: 1
After living in New Zealand for a few years, Lucy came back to Scotland to start her career in teaching. Before coming to QMU, she had been out of education for a while. So, to build up her confidence, she did the SWAP (access) course at Edinburgh College, which she found to be a very positive experience. Lucy then chose to study for her degree here at QMU after finding that the course’s focus on social justice really spoke to her, and feeling that she’d be right at home on campus.
What have you most enjoyed about your course?
The lecturers are fantastic – they are all so passionate about what they are teaching us, which makes the learning experience even better. The University has such a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, with lots of facilities and services available to support and help students. There is always a lot of space in the library and canteen areas, and little hide-away study rooms for when you need to do some serious revision.
My highlight so far is having professional storyteller Tim Porteus attend and perform at one of our lectures; I can’t imagine any other university organising this on an average day.
Has there been a particular course activity you found interesting?
We’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn British Sign Language as a qualification on our course, which has been such a fun and interesting experience so far. It's fantastic that the programme leaders and lecturers at QMU are so forward-thinking and work so hard to make lots of new opportunities available to us.
Placements are clearly an important part of any teaching course. What’s your experience of placements so far?
Next semester, we’ll carry out a self-organised community placement, which I think is going to be a brilliant learning experience for our teaching degree. The placement will allow us to experience different types of youth support outwith the classroom environment and be part of something that makes a difference in young peoples’ lives.
Any advice for students who might be interested in this course?
If you are interested in this course, I would recommend doing some voluntary work first to make sure that teaching is something you would enjoy doing. Speak to anyone you know that is currently a teacher or studying to be one, and ask lots of questions! Then, come and see the University – as well as being a great place to study, the modern architecture of the building and the grounds are really beautiful.
"It's fantastic that the programme leaders and lecturers at QMU are so forward-thinking and work so hard to make lots of new opportunities available to us."
Life as a Student
What’s your ‘top tip’ for making the most of being a student?
Take advantage of the support and resources the University has to offer - it’s there for you. Visit drop-in sessions for extra academic guidance, utilise the library facilities and study rooms and do extra suggested readings when something piques your interest. All of this will benefit your learning experience and make you feel integrated into student life.
What has been the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned at university?
Ask for help when you need it. There is always someone else with a similar question or concern, and realising that gave me the confidence to ask for help, instead of worrying about being the only one struggling. You can also speak to your personal academic tutor one-to-one about anything troubling you, no matter how small; your wellbeing really is a priority at QMU.
What are your plans after graduation? Tell us about your ambitions and where you see yourself in the future?
Once I graduate and complete my probation year, I would love to find a permanent teaching position in a Primary School here in Scotland. I’ve always wanted to experience teaching abroad in Thailand or Japan as well, so that might be a possibility someday.
The world really is your oyster; QMU gives you the tools to make your dreams a reality.
[Published November 2019]