Friday, 30 June 2017

My first year at Norland is over

Author: Abi Kohen, Set 40

My first year at Norland College has come to a close. Despite the deadlines, learning to live independently and several cooking and sewing disasters later, I have to say it is a year I would happily relive all over again. I always knew the first year was going to be a huge and exciting learning curve, but nothing can compare to the invaluable knowledge and experience I have gained. 

Learning with the virtual babies
Learning a range of skills, from nappy changing to facts about how views of childhood have changed throughout history, means no two days at Norland have been the same. Degree lectures are not what I expected; from what I’ve heard from students at other universities, lectures can be boring and seem irrelevant at times, however at Norland I have found this simply isn’t the case. Lecturers adapted their classes to suit us and always filled their lessons with interesting ideas and concepts that I hadn’t even considered until I walked into the classroom. Discussion and student participation is a huge part of lectures too, meaning you get to hear the opinions of everyone, broadening your knowledge even further. Also, despite the degree being challenging and complex at times, I can safely say I have not had a lecture this year where I have not smiled or giggled at something. Everyone supports each other when things get tough and you form a bond within your year group as you all experience the same things together. 

Completing my first sewing project!

A day of outdoor Norland Diploma
lessons at Victoria Park
My first year of the Norland Diploma has been equally incredible! Thanks to the wonderful lecturers, I have learnt a multitude of things that I otherwise wouldn’t. Norland’s high standards have helped me develop my practical skills and consider how I can provide children with the best possible care. Learning things from top and tailing, face painting to making moon sand has been so much fun and it’s not something that many people can say they have done at university! Food and nutrition has taught me so much (like never forget to put sugar in your Victoria sponge cake) and I also never knew how fast I could actually cook under pressure! It made me realise how vital a balanced and exciting diet is to a child’s development. Sewing has also been a whirlwind; I’ve learnt that a sewing machine isn’t actually that scary and making things such as bunting and story sacks has been so much fun. I can’t wait to start even more exciting projects next year.

My two placements were experiences which I never wanted to end. Norland provides you with so much support when you’re there and you know if you have an issue there is always someone you can talk to. The children I have worked with have been so lovely and it’s a blessing to see what an impact you can have on a child’s development even though you are only there for a relatively short period of time. By the time the six weeks are up I’ve felt so settled in my placement that saying goodbye can be difficult. 

Celebrating Christmas with my Norland housemates
Living in Bath has also been so lovely as it is such a beautiful city. On weekends we often meet up with other friends and go for lunch in town, shopping, to the cinema, the Royal Crescent and many other things. Sharing a house with fellow Norland students, who are now my closest friends has been a joy. We have spent many evenings together sat in the living room doing things from writing essays, to playing video games and eating cake. Of course there are times when you just wish you could be at home and have your parents to do the washing up for you or make your bed when you’re tired in the morning, but it doesn’t compare to living with your best friends. A great thing about living with fellow Norland students is that everyone understands what you’re going through as everyone is in it together. It creates a tight support network and you know when you are feeling down there are always people you can talk to that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. 

Our last day of the
first year!
To sum up, my first year at Norland has helped me become a much more confident practitioner and I’ve had so much fun this year that I wish I could do it all over again! There has not been a day where I haven’t laughed, smiled and felt incredibly proud of where I am. Being part of the Norland heritage is so special; Norland truly teaches you the very best practice and gives you the support to reach your full potential. I can’t wait to start my second year and I am so thankful for all the wonderful opportunities I’ve had, the lecturers who have supported us through the tough times and all the amazing friends I’ve made this year.

Abi Kohen joined Norland in September 2016. Applications for 2018 entry will open in September through UCAS. Visit our website for information about our degree with a difference.

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