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Katie's Higher Education Journey

York College University Centre welcomes students from all backgrounds, school leavers and mature learners, with a variety of interests and career goals. Here we catch up with Katie, a former Fashion student, who credits York College with providing her with the most suitable university experience for her needs.

Not attending university was never discussed in my house growing up, it was just a given that you went, you did well, and you made many hilarious memories along the way. I fully expected the same experience for me, so when I was accepted to 4 of my 5 choices, I was excited to start my journey. Fast forward a few months and having chosen my university based on the sake of my relationship at the time, (first mistake – make your decision for you, and you only) I found myself an undergraduate student and moving my things into student halls. This was not your typical student accommodation though, instead, a studio apartment which meant living alone for the first time ever. As someone who constantly surrounded themselves with friends and family, this adjustment was harder than anticipated and my mental health suffered as a result.

A lack of structure combined with too much time to think, saw me come to the decision to drop out of university after the first year. Now aged 19, with a deposit already paid on a house share in the city, I was on the lookout for a new institution to finally get that degree, albeit slightly later than planned.

With no real idea about job prospects, and an uncertainty as to what I even wanted to study, I chose to put my wellbeing first, and think about what subjects I genuinely enjoyed and could see myself studying full-time. Having always had an interest in fashion and creative subjects, I applied for the BA (Hons) Fashion Design & Product Innovation course at York College University Centre. First impressions of the College were just how impressive the building was, and how much it reminded me of a shopping centre?! (that’s always got to be a positive in my eyes). After an informal interview, which involved the head of department having a look through my A Level Textiles portfolio, I was pleased to accept my unconditional offer.

The support I received while at College was incomparable to my previous experience in higher education, from the tutors and my peers. As I was slightly older, I was worried about the mix of school leavers and mature learners and how I would fit in with everyone. A worry that need not have been, the cross collaboration and sharing of ideas from students of varying ages and circumstances only served to strengthen all our creative abilities and encouraged us to experiment with ideas that we wouldn’t have necessarily had individually.

As someone who thrives on being busy, the College and my tutors fully supported this. I was able to work on a variety of exploratory projects during my lessons and outside of them, whilst also being encouraged to undertake a work experience opportunity that I couldn’t afford to miss. It became apparent early on where my strengths and weaknesses were, and how I could use this to my advantage and tailor the course modules to suit my personal goals.

There were a few bumps along the road on a personal level throughout my time on the course (quite literally), including falling pregnant in the second year, but my tutors were there every step of the way to ensure I made the right decision for me. I successfully completed my studies and landed a role within a high street retail head office as a buying assistant soon after graduation. With a blend of manufacturing skills and digital design experience under my belt, I felt confident in taking that leap from education into the world of work, and in an industry that I had always wanted to experience. I cannot thank the tutors enough for rebuilding my confidence in myself and my abilities to study at this level, providing the basis for my career to begin.

Feeling inspired by Katie’s story?

It’s not too late to enrol on the BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Product Innovation course, or why not explore what other subjects we also offer to suit your needs?