My first year at University: the move from RNC to MMU – a blog by Hanif
This is a blog from former RNC student Hanif, who talks about how the College prepared him for life at university.
During his time at RNC, Hanif was the face of our I Can campaign which focussed on what our students can do, not what they can’t.
You can also hear more from Hanif by watching his video at the bottom of this article.
For many people, the transition from college to University can be perceived as a big challenge. Nevertheless, this was not the case for me. I have just finished my first year at The Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), and I am currently reading International Politics/Spanish. For my A Levels, I studied, for two years, at the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC). Alongside my education, the many dedicated staff taught me key skills that have made the move towards Higher Education easier for me. This short blog aims to outline how the college facilitates its students to achieve their ambitions in life. The blog will emphasise the study of languages, because, although I studied: Maths, English Literature and Psychology, Spanish is the subject that I am still studying at MMU. Before addressing how the college prepares its students academically, it is important to acknowledge how the college prepares its students socially: social skills are vital at University; therefore, this will be the discussed in the following paragraph.
Firstly, it has to be considered that the college intertwines students’ confidence in their studies by keeping the staff to student ratios as low as possible. This enables the students that generally would not participate in conversations to practice discussion skills. Generally during University seminars (which I do not like as much as lectures, due to the lecturers constantly asking me questions), one is required to express their views on a certain topic. By practicing communication skills at RNC, university seminars should not be as frightening; so, when the lecturer asks me a question directly, I have the confidence to answer the question.
Moreover, as I am a commuting student, due to me living relatively close to the campus, utilising public transportation is essential. At RNC, additional mobility sessions were built into my timetable, so that I may familiarise myself with independent travel. Perhaps if I were to not have had these mobility sessions I would have struggled to catch the train from Stoke On Trent to Manchester Piccadilly, every time that I was required to be on campus this year. This blog is now going to make specific references to how my study of Spanish equipped me for University.
In the first instance, due to smaller classes, it was easier to submit homework and have the marked work returned quickly. My Spanish teacher, as well as my other wonderful teachers, would mark the work with in depth comments, which helped me to learn how to improve as well as learning how to measure improvement. This helped me to learn more through feedback, and pass my A Levels, so that I could get on to university. Moreover, there was the option to just turn up at the door for additional help- I must have annoyed my teachers!! Clearly, one can gain feedback from the lecturers at university. Notwithstanding, at times it is not as detailed and as helpful as it was at RNC. So, by comparing both levels of feedback, I have learnt how to make the most of the feedback and tutorials as possible. Therefore, it is fair to believe that the professional and well-experienced teachers at RNC help their students to adjust more effectively to academia.
The college also has selfless volunteers, whom provided extra tuition and in Spanish we had conversation classes, in which we would prepare for the Spanish oral exams. She even made a beautiful paella at the end of term for us! I also had a great Maths volunteer, who collaborated with my maths teacher to ensure that I understood the key concepts, such as Trigonometric Identities. My Spanish teacher also quizzed us regularly on vocabulary and grammar; she had figured it out that I had learnt all the list of vocab, so she mixed the list up to test whether I actually knew the words or not. I have conversation classes at university and I do not feel shy to speak to anyone in Spanish anymore, as my A Level Spanish teacher, and the lovely volunteer erased this fear out of me forever. The college also prepares its students for university by taking the subject out of the classroom: this is the subsequent focus.
At University, for the higher grades one is required to comprehend more obscure vocabulary and verbs, and this was achieved at RNC by having ‘Spanish walks’, in which the teacher took us around the campus to practice vocab, for instance I learnt how to say pond in Spanish after this outdoor lesson. Moreover, the college funded a trip to Galicia for A Level Spanish students by hosting the ‘Dine in the Dark’ event. This trip entailed two advantages. Firstly, it helped me to freshen my “mind” (a special mention for my old Psychology teacher, who doesn’t like this word! before my final exams that determined me getting into University. The second advantage is that it enabled me to fully decide if I should study Spanish; a traditional Spanish ritual in Santiago de Compostela determined that I should study Theology instead! Hence, by taking the subject outside the classroom my teachers ensured that I was confident with my options. If a student reads a subject that they do not like, then university, all of a sudden, becomes a living nightmare!
In conclusion, many, including RNC’s amazing teachers, made my ambition of going to university possible. They ensured that I did not just learn, but that I enjoyed living my subject. This is the attitude that a student needs to survive at university. Thank You for everything!
Watch the Hanif’s video blog below;
If you want to find out more about preparing for university at RNC, please call our student enquiries team on 01432 376 621 or email firstname.lastname@example.org