Hi, my name is Rodaba and I am a final year student studying
Criminology at The University of Manchester. I decided to study Criminology because
the course includes aspects of all of my favourite subjects, Psychology,
Sociology and Law, two of which I studied at A-Level. I chose Manchester
because I really love the campus and how close it is to the city centre, as I
grew up in Greater Manchester I was already very familiar with the city and all
of the great aspects to it. I am also a Student Ambassador which is one of my
favourite aspects of being a student at the University.
What is it like studying Criminology?
Most of you may have heard of Criminology before, or may
even study this at college. For those who may not know what the degree entails,
it is basically the study of crime and how different processes could mean that someone
is more likely to commit a crime. You study aspects of Psychology, so the
chemical processes that may increase the likelihood of someone committing a
crime. Sociology, how society plays a role, and also the Law. Although this
may differ depending on the university, Criminology will involve a mix of the
three as well as some coding. As my degree is coming to an end, my favourite
part has definitely been the law aspect of it, I was able to pick all of my own
modules in final year and as a result of the law modules that I picked, I was really
able to gain insight into very current issues. Miscarriages of Justice was
definitely my favourite module, learning about how someone innocent could be
found guilty of a crime was very insightful, especially with the many guest
speakers sharing their experiences. With most humanity degrees, you have a lot
of time where you’re not at university so what I found has been really useful is
to get involved in different things. Whilst at university, I have been able to
get involved in different societies both Criminology and non-Criminology
related, as well as being a Student Ambassador. If there is anything that
interests you, whether it is sports, languages or culture, I would highly
recommend you doing so!
A lot of questions that people ask is ‘what can you do with
a Criminology degree?’. The good thing with most careers is that it doesn’t
matter what the degree is, it’s about the skills you gain whilst completing it.
With Criminology, a popular career choice is working in probation, policing and
social work. For me personally, I am actually going to hopefully start my PGCE
this year and train to become a teacher. As you can see there are so many
options and possibilities with most degrees, and I can use the skills gained
during my Criminology degree to complete the PGCE and train to become a
teacher. So, if you’re still unsure as to what career you want in the future
it’s okay to not know, I definitely didn’t until last year. I also tutor part-time which is where my passion for teaching started.
For some more information on the different topics mentioned,
click on the links below:
Eve. I’m 20, a third-year Law student at UoM, and I have a mental health
condition. There’s so much I wish I could tell my first-year self about
managing my condition around University, so I thought I’d share some tips with
you! Here’s how to manage your wellbeing at Uni.
worry about being ‘cool’
- I spent
lots of time in my first year of University trying to seem cool. I felt the pressure to socialise rather than spending some much-needed time alone, because
I didn’t want to miss out on anything or lose potential friends. As much as
socialising is great fun, don’t worry so much about constantly being around others especially if you’re an introvert
who likes time alone. Good friends will understand the need to balance
socialising and resting, and won’t make you feel bad about it, either!
you want to do
- A healthy
social life will look more active for some, and less active for others. It
might involve sports, or chess, or computer games – no two people are the same!
If you prefer watching a film to playing football, choose accordingly. There is
a society for everything at Uni, so take advantage of this opportunity to meet
like-minded people and make good friends. If you love classic films, go to film
society and skip football. And, don’t make apologies for it!
- If you’ve
never tried needlework before, or photography, or creative writing – but you’ve
always wanted to give it a go, now is the time! University is about dipping
your toe into the water of adult life; and making your own choices. Trying new
stuff is great fun, and you might develop a new interest you’d never have
experienced if you hadn’t tried.
- Eat a
balanced diet, exercise, and get enough sleep. Have a routine you follow each
day and make looking after yourself part of it. This will help promote a stable
mood, which is so important especially in Uni. You’ll enjoy social interactions
so much more when you feel good. Something I’ve learned is that skipping an
event to re-charge and rest will make the next event you do attend even more
- Uni is a
huge transition. It is often the first time in your life you’ve lived away from
home, not seen your friends’ every-day, and this first taste of independence
can be very hard to swallow. It’s normal to feel awkward at first. Just
remember – everyone feels the same way, and this alien territory will be your
new normal before you know it.
and deadlines can be very scary. Days at sixth form are much more structured
and controlled than at University, and sometimes independent learning can feel
so overwhelming and can trigger anxiety. You will get better as you progress on
your programme, and you don’t need to ace your degree in your first semester or
even your first year. Your academic performance isn’t a measure of character or
intelligence. You got onto your course for a reason – remind yourself of this
in moments of doubt.
- In first
year, I worked excessively and I burnt myself out, which had a really negative
impact on my mental health. If you plan your deadlines, assignments and exam
dates onto a calendar and work for a specific amount of time a day over a
longer period, you’ll be doing more than enough. This will also leave plenty of
time for self-care.
- When I
first started my degree, I didn’t even consider informing the School of Law of
my mental health condition – that felt like asking for special treatment. It
was only in my second year that I reached out for support; informing the
Disability Advisory Support Service (DASS) of my diagnosis and difficulties. I
wish I’d done it sooner. UoM wants to support you. DASS offers confidential
advice, additional learning resources and can put measures in place to help you
perform to the best of your ability such as podcasts, deadline extensions, and
exam support. If I could go back, I would have been upfront about my condition
from the start. UoM don’t consider mental health conditions to be weaknesses,
and neither should you.
doesn’t consider diagnosis as a part of your identity. Mental illness is
something they work with you to manage to maintain a normal, happy life. So,
don’t be ashamed. Prioritise your mental wellbeing when applying to a
University in the same way you would other factors such as course modules,
accommodation costs, and campus facilities. Ask questions - do you have a
counselling service, a DASS department, what’s your view on mental health in
the student population? And, when you get to Uni, be open and honest and they
will support you. Remember - you deserve to enjoy and fully participate in
University just the same as any other student, and with patience and
self-awareness, you will lead a happy ‘student life’.
are some resources that help me maintain good mental wellbeing during Uni:
- https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/my-possible-self/ - This app allows you to track
your mood, then collates the data and provides insight on any patterns in your
moods (helps identify triggers). Also lets you focus on different topics which
might be helpful to you, such as overload, low mood, etc.
- https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/student-health-app/- Student Health App. Includes
tips and resources for physical and mental health support, actions to take,
self-care tips, and resources for emergencies. Turn to this in a crisis or to
inform you about the link between lifestyle and mental wellbeing.
- https://moodspace.org/ - A great app designed to change
your thought patterns and improve your mood based on CBT strategies. Includes
small tasks to be done once a day to improve wellbeing.
- https://www.elefriends.org.uk/ - A lovely platform where you can
share stories and experiences and connect with others who have mental health
conditions. Helpful for when you’re feeling lonely.
As soon as you get the confirmation that you have been accepted
into university, your mind goes all over the place - planning what you will do.
For many, it is sorting transport and moving away to your very own place.
However, the side of this journey that is not always seen is those who decide
to stay home, like me. When I got accepted to the University of Manchester, I knew
immediately I was going to stay home. I am not a very adventurous person and
have never even left Manchester without my family. I had no idea staying at
home would be an adventure in itself. My name is Faryal and I live at home with
8 other people whilst studying Law at the University of Manchester.
The Ups and Downs of Living at Home
Staying at home does have many positives. I do not have to
pay rent, bills and I do not need maintenance loans. I help at home when I can
but it costs considerably less than having my own place. Travelling to
university comes at a cost but compared to travelling home on the weekends, it
is much less. I personally believe staying home has helped with my mental
health, being surrounded with people I am comfortable with and have lived with
my whole life.
Staying at home, however, is not all money-saving and family
time. It does come with its struggles. Peace and quiet are pretty much non-existent in my home. It is also more difficult to make friends when you do not
live with other students. Travelling to university can be hectic in itself as
there are specific times you must be there and busses coming on time is as rare
as sunny British weather. The biggest issue is definitely how to make the most
of university when living at home, how to live the true university experience.
How to Make the Most of Uni
can be overcome. I cannot stress the importance of these tips and wish I really
took full advantage of the opportunities. The most obvious way is to join a society
or volunteering. Freshers Fair at the University of Manchester is full of societies
signing up new members. There really is a society for everyone. The best thing
about joining a society or volunteering is you are surrounded by people with
the same interests as you, whether it is Mixed Martial Arts or Accounting you
are interested in. The Manchester Students’ Union lists all sorts of different
societies. Listing the societies you are interested in as well as being
spontaneous and trying something new is the best way to go for Freshers.
Seminar groups really push you to meet new people. The best
advice I could give is when you talk to people in your seminar group, ask for a
way to contact them. Whilst you may seem shy, they probably want to ask you the
As a home student,
seeing other students already knowing each other, it could really affect your
confidence, not only in making friends but also speaking to people in general.
During the beginning of my first year, I found myself barely participating or asking
for help. It is so important to push yourself within the first few weeks to
participate in seminars and ask for help when you need it because you can then
fall into a habit of being withdrawn and quiet. It can be really daunting at
first and you feel like everyone is watching you but it soon becomes second
nature. It is so vital to ask for help when you feel your mental health is not the
best it could be. The University of Manchester counselling support is amazing
and really can make the difference. University is such a special experience and
getting into university is a fantastic achievement so you should really make
the most of it.
One thing I love about the University of Manchester is the
campus. The greenery, the libraries are all great places to spend your time.
Instead of rushing straight home, go to the library or even take a walk around
the campus and just enjoy the experience.
Staying at home is as ‘boring’ as you make it. It can really
be the best experience if you take full advantage of all the opportunities you
have. For me, whilst the beginning of university was really difficult, once I
pushed myself and became more social around the university, I really loved it
and cannot wait to start my next year, surrounded by my family when at home and
by friends when at university.
Hi. My name is Abi and I’m a
final year Speech and Language Therapy student at the University of Manchester.
For the past 4 years I have studied communication and eating and drinking
impairments! Throughout my course I have also had clinical placements, working
in hospitals, schools, clinics and patient’s homes.
I am also a student ambassador
which means I represent the university on campus tours, school visits, and open
days. I’ve loved my time at the University of Manchester and want to tell you
about something that has massively helped me during my studies – mentoring.
What is my experience of mentoring?
Mentoring is a relationship
whereby one person shares their knowledge, skills and experience to help
someone else to progress in their life, study, career and so on. A mentor could
be a friend, family member, leader in your community, academic staff etc. Whilst
at university I have both been the mentor and the mentee!
I have mentored younger students
by sharing my experience of university life. For example, I started a society
to inspire students to pursue social justice and later handed the leadership on
to a girl called Amy. Mentoring Amy looked like going for coffee a couple of
times per term and being at the end of the phone if she needed advice.
I have also been mentored myself,
both personally and academically. Through my faith community I have received
regular mentoring from inspirational leaders. They have helped me to think
through decision making processes, like what career opportunities to pursue and
how to spend my time whilst in Manchester. During my first year it was also
great to be mentored by a peer on my course, they lent me textbooks and
answered any questions I had about the course. Being mentored has made me more
confident. I have learnt so much about myself and the world around me by
listening to wise mentors!
How can you make the most of a mentor at university?
Hopefully those brief examples
have shown you how helpful and game-changing mentoring can be. Mentoring can be
informal or more formal, it’s really what you want it to be. University can
feel like a big step up, both academically and personally. I want to reassure
you that there are ways to reach out for help and surround yourself with
amazing, supportive people.
I’m now going to share a few handy mentoring tips:
someone – it sounds obvious but ask someone to be your mentor! This can be
someone at home who you’ll call or meet up with a few times a term, or it could
be a person you meet whilst at university. They may say no (this has happened
to me!) but that is ok, another person will be delighted that you’ve asked them!
Do you have an older sibling, club leader, family friend you admire and want to
an agreement – Mentoring takes commitment, so it’s a good idea to make a
plan with your mentor. When will you meet/call? What do you want to get out of
mentoring? Pinning down the details should leave more time to discuss what
matters during your meetings.
stories – If you’re stuck for how to start your first mentoring session why
not share your story. For instance, what drew you to studying your course? Why
did you pick your university? What are some important moments for you from the
past year? Even if your mentor already knows you pretty well it’s powerful to
tell your story. This sounds deep, but you will get so much more from mentoring
if you can bring your whole self to sessions. Maybe your mentor will also share
their story with you too!
questions and hang out – Hopefully your mentor will be ready with
some probing questions, but you can also ask more about their experiences. I
was once mentored by someone who had similar passions to me, and I loved asking
her questions! For example, who has been most influential in your life? How did
you balance work and play? I agree with the experts who say that most of
mentoring is ‘caught not taught’. Spending time with a mentor can make a
lasting imprint on you. So, hang out with your mentor, observe how they live
their life, and be inquisitive!