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Rebecca Cross

Food Science and Nutrition

What appealed to you about Northumbria University / studying in Newcastle?

I live near Hull in East Yorkshire and felt it was time to move away from home. I looked around Northumbria and decided this was the place for me. When looking around I liked the layout of the campus with the Student's Union in the centre of the University. The support facilities seemed to be some of the best I had seen and the Student's Union activities were varied. I also loved Newcastle as a city, great night life, plenty of cultural venues and everything you need all in one place.

What was it about the course / subject area that particularly appealed?

I really liked how the course was so varied. There were aspects of science, nutrition, product development, marketing and food safety. As I had no idea of what direction to go in terms of a career this was an ideal course to find out what areas I was interested in. Also the five week work placement at the end of the second year and sandwich placement for the third year really appealed to me. Having work experience in several areas of the food industry would be beneficial, especially to employers after graduation.

What qualifications did you have?

I applied through UCAS having three A-Levels and two AS-Levels, also GCSEs in the required subjects.

How did you feel during your first week at Northumbria?

The first week was a little daunting but the activities provided by the Student's Union and the ice breakers in lectures all helped to make it exciting. Being in a new place with lots of new people was great fun, though there were a few people who were homesick. The Student Support team were great to help those who were having some difficulty adjusting to the new environment.

What do you like most about the course?

I love the lecturers on my course. They are always willing to help if you have problems or just want to go through something. The variety of teaching styles means there is always one way you can learn the information. All the lecturers are friendly, approachable and informative.  The open door policy is excellent as it means you can always find the lecturers when you need them. They make the difficult subjects easier, and their enthusiasm for their topic catches your interest.

Can you give an example of a piece of work you’ve been involved with recently and what it involves?

I have recently had a presentation to do for my applied nutrition topic. This has been good fun as I am working with two people on my course. For the presentation I have had to research a weight loss diet using the library services such as NORA and looking at articles and journals. This is only one way of assessment though as I have lab reports, essays, exams and group work that all add up to make the module. The assessments require a lot of research but the library services are excellent and you can easily find what information you need in there. Should you have any problems with layout or talking in front of a large group there are many different skill workshops as part of the student support and library services. Here you can learn how to write a lab report or what is expected in a presentation: all really useful if you don’t know where to start with a piece of work. However the course so far hasn’t been particularly difficult as the skills workshops and lectures have given you an understanding of the things expected of you.

Do you have the opportunity for any work placements during your course?

I do have the opportunity of a five week placement at the end of the second year (this is mandatory) and a year’s work placement between the second and final year (this is optional). Work placements are great for employers to see you have had experience in different areas and can improve your employability.

What do you do when you’re not studying?

I am a course representative for my year and this takes up some of my time with meetings and discussions about improving the University and the course. I am also a peer mentor which means I am available for first years and my peers to talk to about any issues they might be having within the University or at home. I can then recommend different student services that would benefit their situation. Also I enjoy volunteering as part of NSCA (Northumbria Student Community Action) which involves me volunteering for a variety of projects, such as tea dances for the elderly and tree planting. Three times a week or more I attend the University gym and sometimes go to the exercise classes they put on. Then I do the usual things when I’m not studying like socialising, reading, collecting films and crocheting. One of the best things about Newcastle is the variety of things to do; clubs, bars and pubs to go to, the new library, theatre, cinema and shops to name a few.

What’s your accommodation like?

In my first year I lived in shared university accommodation which was very active, always someone around and something to do. It had great security, staff were always helpful, and there was plenty of room for all my belongings. This year I am in a shared house with three friends, which is excellent. It’s quiet when you need to do some work and when we are all free it’s great to have friends close. I prefer living in my house because we have a living room which I didn’t have in the first year, and it is good for social gatherings.

What would you like to do when you graduate?

Originally I wanted to go into dietetics but having studied a variety of different modules on my course I have decided that I would prefer to go into health promotion as part of the NHS or the Council.

How do you get on with your tutors?

The tutors are really approachable and friendly. If I had a problem with a piece of work or didn’t understand something in a lecture they were able to help me by giving information that I understood.

Have you used Student Services during your course?

I have used the Careers Service to help me write a CV to send off to possible employers for my placement year. Also I have attended some of the skills workshops to help me with my presentation work.

Do you have any advice for anyone applying for your course, or for university in general?

For anyone applying to university I would recommend you look into the services available for students as you never really know when you might need them, e.g. an unexpected family problem or accommodation issue and you need the support there to help you through it. Also make sure you research the course thoroughly as you wouldn’t want to come for a year and find out halfway through that it isn’t really for you.

What three words would you use to describe your time at Northumbria?

Interesting, excellent, social

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