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"Coming to Birkbeck after sixth form helped me grow my confidence and find my voice"

For BSc Geology student, Ella Jones, coming to Birkbeck straight after sixth form helped grow her confidence and find her voice. This is her story.

Ella wearing a grey hoodie and maroon beanie stood in front of a brick wall, smiling.

I chose Birkbeck because it was unique

After being in a rigid academic structure for most of secondary school and sixth form, I was ready to mix it up and do things differently. The idea of studying in the evenings and having my days free to work, volunteer, and dedicate time to looking after my mental health really appealed to me. It felt freeing. What's more, when Birkbeck sent me my offer to study BSc Geology, it came with a really personal message for me about my application. No other university had done that - it felt so human, so unique.

Building my confidence

I was nervous about how I would find my studies and gel with other students. I needn't have worried though! I joined the Birkbeck Women's Network and have been to a few socials and events where I've met great people and made friends. My classmates are also lovely, and I have so much fun learning with them. After just a couple of months at Birkbeck, I felt like I'd made friends for life. The staff are encouraging and accepting, and the lecturers lead classes that are a space for exchange between teachers and students. They make it clear that they care about who you are and your development. Early on, I had a ninety-minute call with one of my lecturers to talk through some of the class material and my approach to it. It really feels like my voice matters.

Using my voice

I decided to become a student ambassador and it's brilliant. I spend a lot of my days public speaking in front of other prospective students, which has been such a boost to my confidence. I love the idea that I'm able to help answer their questions and make them feel as accepted and welcome as I felt when I first thought about coming to Birkbeck. I'm also about to start volunteering for a hospice where I'll spend my time talking to patients, using my voice to provide comfort and care to people who really need it.

I found a sense of independence

Studying in London, having classes with a diverse range of people, and having the freedom to do what I want with my days has helped me grow. Before coming to Birkbeck, I never would have put myself out there the way I do now. I love that I can help and influence people, all while studying something that I'm passionate about!

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