Liv – BA Childhood Studies

Liv is currently a second year BA Childhood Studies student in the School of Education.

Why did you choose your degree?

I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do as a career when I applied to university. Like most 16/17 year olds, it was more a case of ruling out what I didn’t want to do and narrowing it down from there. I managed to conclude that I wanted to work with children, and I wanted to work in mental health or therapy. From there, Childhood Studies seemed like the perfect option. My course is interdisciplinary and that’s what I love most about it; it covers politics, sociology and psychology style modules – all related to childhood.

What have you found most challenging about university?

I think writing in correct university style and format was a challenge at first. Throughout school and college you’re not taught anything like referencing or report structures, so it’s lots of new information all at once. Although the tutors and the library provide lots of support and resources, its definitely tricky to get the hang of at first!

What did you study at school and/or college?

I chose Business Studies, Computer Applications, Photography and Geography at GCSE, and Psychology, Sociology and Business Studies at A-Level. Business Studies was definitely my strongest and favourite subject at both GCSE and A-Level. Lots of my college tutors asked why I wasn’t planning on studying it for my degree. Even though Business was a strong subject for me, my ‘ruling out’ process had identified that this wouldn’t be the career for me; I’m glad I chose a course I was passionate about as opposed to something I was just good at as it meant I was much more motivated to do well at university. I personally found for my degree that my Psychology and Sociology A-Levels have been helpful. However, A-Level and GCSE options definitely aren’t everything – lots of courses (including Childhood Studies at Leeds) don’t require experience of any specific subjects in order to study at degree level.

How is studying at university different to school and college?

Studying at university is definitely more independent. As you progress through school and college you’re given more and more independence however there’s usually still someone telling you what to do. That really does stop at university, you’re expected to be self motivated and proactive in your own learning which can sometimes be difficult. However, the degree you choose is usually something you feel really passionate about, you’ll find it much easier to self-motivate when you’re engaged and interested in what you’re studying.

What do you do in your spare time?

Outside of university, me and my housemates love visiting Leeds’ independent venues. We love Hyde Park Book Club, Coffee on the Crescent and Dry Dock (we’re regulars at karaoke) as well as the union bars – Old Bar quiz is a favourite of mine and my course mates too! With the support of the School of Education careers advisor I have secured work in schools. This work is providing me with invaluable experience for my future career but is also helping me to decide which path I might like to follow in the future.

What are your experiences of accommodation at university?

As a fresher I was placed in iQ Leeds for my first year halls. It wasn’t my first choice and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed at first. I remember my mum said to me ‘everything happens for a reason’ and she couldn’t have been more right. My first year experience was different to say the least, but I absolutely loved it! I made friends for life and I’ll never forget my time in halls. We spent lots of time in Hyde Park on hot days or visiting the alpacas and piglets on the Meanwood Valley farm. Failed meal ideas and fancy dress nights were always an absolute staple. Second year housing is definitely a step up. You’re a private tenant renting a house so you definitely need to do your research. My housemates and I looked at a lot of houses before we found one that was suitable. Now we love it so much that we’ve signed the lease for another year! University housing is definitely different to halls and an experience like no other; in what other time in life would you have more cheese graters than people under one roof!?

Where do you see yourself after university?

After university, I’m still not entirely sure what I will do. I’m looking down the route of developmental therapies however nothing is set in stone. Right now I am making the most of my time at university and taking advantage of all the opportunities my course offers. I am building transferable social and analytical skills which will support me in any future career and equip me with successful skills for life.

Sum up your university experience (so far!) in one sentence!

My university experience has comprised of a lot of personal growth, new lifelong friends and a lot of laughs a long the way.