Second-year student Mia chose to live at home, rather than live in student accommodation, to ease the transition to university life and keep living costs down. Mia discusses how she has been involved in the Norland community as a commuting student and how she funds her studies. 

 

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Mia, and I am part of Set 46.  Before starting at Norland, I went to St Brendan’s Sixth Form College where I studied three A levels in French, Business and Health & Social Care.  

Why did you choose to study at Norland?

I chose to study at Norland because working with children has always been something I have enjoyed and wanted to pursue a career in. I love seeing smiles on children’s faces and watching families around me raise their children in a way which demonstrates pure love and affection.  

I wanted to study at Norland as it offers the best of the best experience in terms of hands-on experience with children, which I can put into practice. The high-quality degree and diploma both set me up practically as well as academically, providing me with skills such as sewing and cooking as well as knowledge about brain development and children’s behaviour. After coming to many open days and learning about the teaching styles and the training, I knew it was the place for me. As I grew up, I had a babysitter who was training with Norland, and we became very close. She inspired me to make Norland my dream and I am honoured to call myself a Norland student.  

Norland student in practical uniform sat holding a virtual baby in a classroom

How have you found your time at Norland so far?

So far, my time at Norland has been incredible. I have made some of my closest friends as well as gained some of the best experiences. I have achieved so much already, such as first aid, self-defence and many placements both in early years settings and with families.   

We have also had some fun socials, including BBQs, movies, nights out and so much more. My ultimate highlight, so far, has been singing Christmas carols with the choir outside Bath Abbey at the Bath Christmas Market and a trip to Paris I took with some of the close friends I have made whilst being at Norland.   

How do you fund your studies?

Before starting at Norland, I secured two part-time jobs in Bath. These, along with my student loan, enable me to pay my tuition fees. I have noticed that many of the skills I have learned during my Norland training are transferable to my part-time jobs, such as learning to effectively communicate through processes such as emotion coaching 

I also babysit in the evenings to fill my spare time. Babysitting jobs are a great way to study and complete assessments, while also gaining hands-on experience with young children. Norland students can find part-time work like this in the evenings, at weekends and during the holidays via Norland’s Student Job Shop or the Marvellous Babysitting app.  

Why did you choose to live at home during your studies?

I chose to commute to university rather than live in student accommodation in Bath because of the flexibility and costs. Also, by choosing to commute, I felt it would make the transition to coming to Norland from studying at sixth form smoother and easier for me while settling in.  

Therefore, I felt that choosing to commute would give me opportunities to still feel at home whilst I began a new venture with my studies.    

Would you recommend this option to other prospective students?

If you are a student who already lives in Bath or nearby, I 100% recommend it! I have had the opportunity to stay at home, while still feeling able to have a student social life, and also save money.  

Through living at home, I have found that my confidence has grown so much. By putting myself out there, I have made some long-lasting friendships with students who are also commuting as well as students in accommodation in Bath.   

Can you explain more about Norland’s virtual house and buddy schemes?

Before I began at Norland, I was placed in a virtual house with a group of students, both those living together in student accommodation and commuting students. It really helped me settle in during my first week by providing a way to meet people and not to feel on my own. 

It can be quite daunting to enter a room where you feel everyone knows each other and you don’t. I was worried this would be the case because I did not live with other students. So, during welcome week, this connection with my virtual house meant a lot to me. Having virtual housemates meant I was able to communicate any worries or questions I had to a group who were experiencing similar things, and we could all support each other.  

As well as the virtual house, there is also a buddy scheme. The buddy scheme puts students who have just started at Norland in contact with a student from the year above, who acts as a ‘buddy’ to help guide and support first years during their first weeks at Norland and beyond. As part of our welcome week schedule, we met up with our buddy from Set 45 and were able to ask them any questions and seek any advice we needed about anything to do with our Norland experience. 

The buddy scheme has continued to be a great support system for me, not only for advice and support, but it is a brilliant way to get more involved with a range of different socials and activities in the wider community of Bath, such as the choir, quizzes and clubs.  

How have you been supported in feeling a part of the Norland community despite not living in student accommodation?

When choosing to live at home before coming to Norland, I was worried that I would struggle to make friends and feel welcome as I didn’t live in a house with other students. However, I instantly found there was nothing to be worried about. I was welcomed with open arms by my fellow students and the Norland staff.   

Everyone is in the same situation during welcome week; it is everyone’s priority to introduce themselves and to make friends. As a commuting student, you do have to put in that extra effort and go out of your comfort zone to make those connections, but it’s easy to do because everyone is in a similar position and is in a brand-new environment. Everyone is excited to make new friends!  

Student in Norland Uniform in front of Royal Crescent in Bath
Norland Student in Uniform standing outside gates

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