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Paula Curtis

Disability Studies and Health in Contemporary Society

Where are you from?

Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear

Why did you choose Northumbria University, Newcastle?

As an older student and parent, choosing a university that was not only close to home but offered the course I wanted to study was top priority. After attending several Open Days and Taster Sessions from Universities in and around the North East, I felt that Northumbria was my first choice.

What do you think of Newcastle and our region and what are your favourite things to do?

Newcastle is fantastic, there is something for everyone to do! Northumberland Street and Eldon Square are in the city centre but Metrocentre is only a 10 minute journey. For socialising with friends, Newcastle offers loads of different areas to go to so you can always alternate between places to make sure you have a great time. Family activities are fantastic too- all over there is hidden places which can bring hours of fun for all the family no matter the age!

What has surprised you most about living in Newcastle and this region? What has impressed you most?

The diversity of choices in things to do; having always lived in the area all my life, I thought I knew it quite well. Obviously I was wrong, there is much much more! Not only that there is great family orientated things to do for FREE!!!

Did you find Northumbria University welcoming? Was it easy to fit in?

As I have mentioned I am an older student being 26 when I started my course, I was nervous about being the oldest person there and being pushed asside socially because I couldn't attend all the 'Student' style activities, again I was wrong! Coach Lane felt so comfortable and reasuring, it's like a little community of its own. The students ages range from 18 to 50+ many of us are parents and we have been building up a great little support system, not only that but regardless of the age of any given individual the mutual respect of being a peer, a student, someone wanting to learn is fantastic!

What have you enjoyed most about coming to Northumbria University?

I couldn't possibly name ONLY ONE!! Academically- The access to information that has increased my knowledge and understand of complex social structures, the library at both campus' are amazing and if it's not available, the staff always help to find it. Socailly- the support systems and relationships that I have built due to going to events held by the Students' Union, I intend to keep forever. They have helped me develop as a person and helped me and my children been more actively included in the area around us.

Who has helped you most since you came to Northumbria?

All the staff are great at giving advice and support; there is always someone available to help you with any issues, not only academically but in all areas personal, social, employment or health related. And if they dont know how, they always know someone who can.

Who has inspired you most at Northumbria University?

I think my Lecturer John Taylor has been the most inspiring for me personally; He is passionate about the areas he lectures on and that passion is easy to see for all students! He brings the matter to life with enthusiasm engaging everyone in discussing and developing understanding from varying perspectives.

What is your favourite place on campus?

Coach Lane Campus SU Costa- it's social with access to computers for working. Great coffee and comfy seats to relax in.

Have you joined any sports teams, clubs or been involved in any volunteer projects? Tells us about the highlights?

I am (newly appointed) the Representative for Students with Caring Responsibilities 2014-2015 & Coach Lane Representative on the RAG Leadership Committee for 2014-15.

What is the best thing about your course?

The support, advice and understanding available from peers, SU and lecturers in all aspects of life not just relating to the university.

What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt to date?

To Question is to develop understanding.

What do you want to do in the future? What skills have you learned/improved that you think will be of most use in your future career?

I hope to work in Human Rights, I am unsure of the definate area but I am passionate about changing the inequalities experienced by members of society, locally nationally and internationally. I don't like the preconcieved perseptions placed on individuals due to the area they live, colour of their skin or ability to conform to social norms. Skills- the ability to question, to ask for evidence, to critically look at a situation and gather information in order to develop knowledge and understnading. Furthermore the ability to comunicate academic and personal theories in seminars and group work and take on others opinions in a professional manner.

If you could offer some advice to students thinking of coming to study here what would you say?

Northumbria has the facilities to support you in becoming whoever you want to be in life, it's up to you to use them.

How do you feel you have changed as a person since being at Northumbria University, Newcastle (e.g. confidence)?

In everyway possible! I have grown as a person, my understanding, my confidence, my articulation and communication has changed. I have the confidence to speak out and question, I have the understanding to develop arguements critically.

If you had 3 words to sum up your time with us what would they be?

Informative, supportive, diverse!

Would you recommend Northumbria University to a friend?



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