The start of the new year in a new institution is always, frankly, scary for some people. Here are some thoughts – and a possible timetable for Early Childhood Studies students at Oxford Brookes.
Accommodation: this is worth a look if you were not allocated Halls this semester.
Bigger Questions: the “Will I fit in?” “Can I study at this level?” questions are harder to deal with.
Will I fit in? I almost want to say “no” – at least, not at first. The day you arrive you will probably not feel or look like a confident human being – and those who do may be putting a brave face on it. Because that is what we all do: we breathe deeply, we smile and we say “Hi, my name is….” Go for it. Fitting in follows.
Can I study at this level? Hmmmm. Unpacking this question might take you until the day of your graduation. All I can say is that we wouldn’t have accepted you if we didn’t believe you could, if we didn’t think you’d be fine, and if we didn’t think the course could cope with you. There are all sorts of ways this first semester will challenge you, and the step up from your previous study is undoubtedly one of the biggest.
- Talk to tutors: that’s what we’re paid for. Early Childhood students have the opportunity to meet most of the tutorial team in modules in the first semester and if the answer isn’t obvious in your course or module handbooks, try the tutors!
- Use the library: reading – and the thinking that goes with it – is not a hobby, but integral to getting it right. But don’t be afraid to learn news skills: better note-taking, selecting the books to read. The library is a helpful place.
- Use the University support systems: they aren’t add-ons, but part of your entitlement, from the SU to UpGrade. And above all don’t forget your Student Support Coordinator.
- And of course talk to each other, to your course reps, to second and third years.
I could fill up page after page of things to do and not to do, but you will get it right (and sometimes wrong) and it will all be OK, so I won’t go on. Instead (back to practicalities) here is an indication of the modules ECS students will study up until Christmas.
*Mon 9:00: U70103 Families, Culture and Context
*Tues 1:00U 70110 Studying Early Childhood (double: Semesters 1 and 2)
*Thurs 1:00 U71703 Introduction to the Study of Education
You might also choose U71701 Constructions of Childhood (Weds 1:00) and – but of course there are lots of other choices too. The compulsory ones I’ve marked with an asterisk * and we can (and will) discuss the choices you make. The only caveat I’d add is that attendance at classes isn’t all there is to do to be successful; out-of-class private study is key. As I said a bit earlier; your reading (and thinking) is key, and should take in far more than just getting the quotations as you struggle to complete an essay.
We are genuinely looking forward to seeing you: enjoy the start of September, and we will meet up very soon.