Monday, 29 May 2017

My Overall College Experience

Happy Bank Holiday Monday! I have been waiting to do this blog post for what feels like ages now, but I have now finished college and this is my overall college experience blog post. Check out my year one experience here. If you didn't know what college is in the UK, its basically the step you take after finishing secondary school and is alternative to A-levels.  

I was studying a Level 3 BTEC Diploma in Business, but after the first year you have to specialise in a section within a business, the options were HR, finance, marketing, events and much more; but I chose Marketing. In my two years at college, I did not have to sit any exams is was all 100% coursework based, however, they have bought in exams now I believe so I was lucky enough to miss them.

My experience

Going into the second year of college I was a lot more excited as I was specialising in marketing which I find so interesting, and have a general passion for. However, I was more worried about the workload and just generally having a lot more to deal with in terms of my final year (University being the main one).

In terms of my workload I felt as if I didn't have that much to do with, I don't know whether I did have less work, or I deal with this a lot better, but I knew I wanted to come out of college with the best grade possible which is 3 D*. The units for my marketing year were a lot more interesting, but it was something I wanted to study so learning about relationships marketing was interesting as it was all focused around mu favourite part of business. 

The units we studied were:

  • Internet marketing - This is found so interesting learning about more digital sides to marketing 
  • Marketing research - Something I have forced on for ages but was nice to conduct our own primary research 
  • Relationship marketing - Interesting to see how companies retain relationships with consumers
  • Development planning for a career in Business - Focused on our UCAS application, and getting a job in the future.
  • Starting a small business - Loved this unit as I liked the freedom of having to create a unique business, and present our ideas.
  • Understanding business ethics - Not my favourite unit, sometimes was confusing 
  • Economic environment - This was very relatable as it's more or less how the economy is affecting businesses and us.
  • International business - Thought this would be more interesting than it actually was
  • Creative product promotion - Interesting to see different techniques businesses use 
  • So overall I really enjoyed my units for this year and felt as if my passion for business and marketing just increase all the time because of these units, and my teachers for this year were all amazing. 

I thought this year was going to be a lot more stressful as I was having to complete my UCAS application, which took out a lot of time especially with university visits and dealing with all of this and life in general. You can read all about my university process so far here, but I found this to be a really enjoyable process at college as it was part of a unit but felt as if we had so much support and guidance with going about the whole application. Overall I would say my UCAS application took abut 5 months from start to finish, and if it wasn't for me going to college I wouldn't have had a number of unconditional offers as I did. 

In the second year I felt as if we had a lot more freedom and responsibility to do everything in our own time, our teachers understood that we had to prioritise our work and time, but felt as if we had a lot more support with our work and the marketing etc. This is probably because they knew we had a lot more aspects to cover such as university. A lot of the time I really enjoyed the work we had, having a mixture of leaflets, reports, presentations and group work it made it a lot more enjoyable and felt as if I actually had a good understanding of all the work, which my work reflected.

In terms of the social side of college, we had a better time, especially with me being able to drive it made the second year a lot better as we had more freedom and done more after college together. I was still in a class with my friends from the first year, so it was nice not having to feel worried about not knowing anyone. The relationships we had with our teachers was a lot nicer this year, just because theirs more respect with being older.

When it comes to the end of the year everyone ends up going at their own paces as everyone wants to finish at different times, this is where college is just the best because I was finishing assignment even before they were given out; hence why I finished college Wednesday just done when we officially finish the first week of June. This was brilliant because you could zone out and just do everything in your own time, and the assignments weren't as structured so you could do things in your own style and write about different businesses etc.

I thought I would briefly touch on my organisation and note taking of this year, I started off writing all my notes and using a diary instead of bringing in my laptop every day like I did in the first year. And in all honest this probably lasted for a month, after that, I didn't bother taking notes and used the assignment briefs and powerpoint slides to complete my work. The only organisation I had was that I would write a to-do list on my notes on my phone, with that work I had to complete but this only happened when I had a lot more to focus on. I coped really well with the stress, and only had one mini "breakdown" which was due to me working so much so I was behind on deadlines, but since writing it all down that night I completed everything that night, and that was the only one I had but compared to last year I was probably having a breakdown as least 3 times a year with the amount of stress I was under. 

My advice and tips:

  • Pick a subject/area that you genially have an interest in 
  • Do your work as soon as you get it
  • Prioritise it by due dates and deadlines
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help
  • Get ahead of everyone - Focus on university during the summer so you have a head start
  • Set deadlines for yourself - I knew I wanted to finish college before May half term (which I did)
  • 24 hour Starbucks trips are the best for getting work done
  • Make the most of the short time you have, it goes so quickly!
  • Cit This for Me (link) - Is the best for rerunning all your work!
  • Grammarly (link) - The better version of spell check 

Overall I would highly recommend college as this has changed me so much as a person, I am a lot more confident and have really grown up during my two years here. It's such a good experience and really gives you the chance to focus on something you're passionate about; while maintaining a social life with a job and friends. I am so sad yet relieved that college is over with, it has been a wonderful few years and has made me a lot more prepared for university. 

If you have any questions etc comment below and I will get back to you

Shelby x 


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