Ubayda taught himself at home prior to going to college and university, he discusses how he has found the process of settling into university.

I was born in the London borough of Newham, raised in Arabia for 14 years, yet found myself living in Nechells, Birmingham by the age of 19. The young city quickly became my new home, a major international commercial centre I now share with a proudly diverse populace of 1.1 million people. I soon discovered my passion for youth work through volunteering with youth charities such as Talent Match and the Prince’s Trust and, after a year at college, I found myself writing my UCAS personal statement. Shortly after, I was thrilled to find myself accepted at my University of choice: Newman University.

My biography of study differs from the conventional: I am self-taught. Prior to college and University, I learned solely through a self-motivated desire for knowledge, studying from dated books I stockpiled at home. However, this meant I harboured a secret fear of perhaps finding difficulty in acquiring knowledge by tutors, lecturers and peers. An unfounded fear, but a fear nonetheless.

So, my first day at university was a frightening one to arrive for. I soon discovered, however, that I had absolutely nothing to fear. Newman University runs a programme called HEADstart, a preparatory course that runs the 2 weeks preceding welcome week. It is specifically designed to assist students with their transition into University life, and it was an absolute lifesaver (thanks Leoarna!). The staff were welcoming, prepared and, best of all, understanding. With fears allayed, campus layout memorised, and coffee prices committed to memory I was ready for university.

Studying at Newman is fantastic, there are no two ways about it. My lecturers are zany, skilled professionals, with decades of experience, both theoretical and applied. I sat on the floor for one seminar, while my lecturer paced the room in socks discussing contemporary youth matters, and I felt right at home. Newman has accomplished what its fellow Birmingham Universities have yet to embrace: and that is successfully achieving a balance of community, classroom camaraderie, and higher education.

I feel comfortable engaging with lecturers. I am confident that I will receive help and support if I need it in the future. I look forward to the next 3 years, and to achieving a 1st Class Honours.

Believe. Achieve.