Tobias is a Game Design and Development student and has just completed his second year of study, here at Bradford. He started university after more than 20 years of working. In this blog, he gives his take on what’s it’s like to be an adult learner at the University.
Why did you decide to return to learn?
I have always wanted to attend university but I thought my qualifications were not applicable. My partner persuaded me to go to an open day and find out if I would be able to get in with City and Guilds qualifications, and I was thrilled to find out that these, plus the conversations I had with the tutors, were accepted to get me onto the course.
I worked in IT Support for over twenty years and really wanted to take control of my life and get out of that field. I have always loved computer gaming and the idea of studying it was a dream come true.
What support have you been given as an adult learner?
My personal tutor has been absolutely fantastic, I now class him as a good friend. I suffer with depression and anxiety, and the MyBradford support staff have accommodated me in a number of ways – including providing me with access to the Counselling Service.
Before I started at the University, I took part in a Step up to HE programme which was incredibly helpful at preparing me to start studying full time. Starting university is daunting, but at Bradford you will be supported by a huge network of staff who can help with any issue that comes up.
With Covid, learning has been very different this last year, but the staff and my fellow students have managed to keep almost everything running as normal.
What’s your favourite thing about campus?
Being able to drop in on my tutors and pick their brains, the huge library that is wonderful to poke around – with help from the subject librarians, the café in the SU; but my personal favourite is the MDT Lounge, as there is always someone working on something cool. Studying computer games will always lead you into some very odd areas of study – to paraphrase one of my tutors – “playing with ideas and tech that doesn’t tangibly exist yet”. This area is where my cohort come together to create, chat, game, sketch, read and hang out with each other.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
I treat University like a job – and that has worked very well for me so far. If you only look at the hours you spend in lectures, you may think that you’re getting an easy ride. As an adult, being experienced at time management has ensured that I’m on top of all my assignments. I try to work each weekday from about 10 through to about 6 – and this has meant that I’m on top of all of my work, and there aren’t any unpleasant surprises! This also ensures that I take weekends off – it’s really important to unwind, and the SU, Bradford city and even Leeds (if you’re feeling adventurous) are great places to do just that.
What’s your advice for adult learners considering applying to Bradford?
Firstly – study something you love. You are going to get in deep in your chosen subject, make sure it’s something you’re going to enjoy living and breathing for at least three years! Come visit – meet your staff, meet your potential fellow students, chat to second and third year students currently on your course, immerse yourself in the atmosphere of your school.
Be prepared to hit the ground running. Get all the info on your chosen field that you can, read it, absorb it. Get used to reading academic papers, look on Google Scholar and similar sites at papers written in your field, make your own notes, start thinking exactly where and how you will want to specialise. The more you know now, the easier it will be later – honestly.
Bradford has been brilliant for me, I’ll be graduating when I’m 48 years old, and I can’t think of any way my time at University could have been better.
The most important person at Bradford is YOU – come and realise your dreams with us!