On this page you will see what some current students made of coming to do Social Work at the University of Edinburgh. Their stories are important in pointing to some of the key elements that can account for the sense of 'shock' that first year students sometimes feel on entering higher education.
As you will see, this often comes down to the amount of self-motivation and organisation that is required, the scale and depth of the reading you have to get through, and the sheer fact that in a programme like Social Work you have to develop your own ideas.
“On your HNC, you're handed everything. Here's a photocopy, read this, read that. Whereas here you've got to go and do all your own learning... get your own resources and materials and get this book and that book. It takes forever. But you need the material.”
“I was a bit scared about coming here because it was so big. I was like, oh 'what do I do if I'm stuck?'. There's nobody going to be there to speak to me or whatever, but it's brilliant. You can always find somebody to come and help you or they'll find out an answer for you.”
“You do a lot more yourself and there's nobody to spoon-feed you as such. You know, it's a bit of a shock to the system but you just have to adapt quickly. But again that's the big difference from anything else before... At university you're expected to do it yourself and the help you get is minimum.”
“I'm not in awe, but sometimes... when I was in the [oldest building] sitting in the lecture theatre you're kind of thinking 'I wonder who sat here before me', you know there's a wonderful sense of history about the place. So I enjoy that.”
Quotes taken from Hazel Christie, Lyn Tett, Viviene E. Cree, Jenny Hounsell and Velda McCune (2008) 'A Real Rollercoaster of Confidence and Emotions': Learning to be a University Student, Studies in Higher Education, 33 (5): 561-581, Routledge.