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Colin James Watson

Human Nutrition

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

I currently live quite locally in Cramlington and I wasn’t too fussed about moving away from home, so a nearby University like Northumbria appealed to me because it was convenient and I liked the University campus, reputation, night-life and sports facilities.

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

I’ve always been interested in biology at school, especially studying digestion in the human body and of course really enjoy eating food, as do all. However, I chose this course because my interest in food extends not only to eating it but how different types of foods can affect the human body in different ways. Also my tutor told me that many people after this course go on to do dietetics at another University which at the moment is what I want to follow.

What qualifications did you have?

I had A levels in Biology, Philosophy & Ethics and Product Design and went on to Northumbria University to study 1st year Criminology & Forensic Science but realised that this course wasn’t for me; therefore after the first year I applied to study Human Nutrition and was accepted on to year 1 of the course which I was very pleased about.

How did you feel during your first week at Northumbria?

Apart from fresher’s week which was good, I was fairly anxious the first couple of days because you just have to blend into a new environment and try to make some new friends but on the other hand you’re excited to start  new thing in life which motivates you.

What do you like most about the course?

I really enjoy the variety of modules that were studied in the first year and more so in the second year because you wouldn’t imagine the varying modules that all connect and have a massive link with nutrition.  I mostly enjoy the nutrition modules which help me learn the basics of food and nutrition which help in most of the other modules.

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

Currently, in one of the modules I have been given an assignment to do which involves analysing your food intake over a period of three days; where I had to record every piece of food and drink over three days and then input this information into a system called micro-diet which assesses your diet including: calories, protein, fat, carbohydrate and others.  Overall I would say the course is challenging at times but there’s always support from tutors.

How do you get on with your tutors?

I get on well with my module tutors; they are all approachable and friendly when I have a question about the work assigned to me and make the subject interesting. My course tutor always extends the offer to come and see her if I have any concerns or queries.  

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

There is an opportunity on this degree to undertake an industrial placement with places like Cadbury’s and Findus and many others which gives you an extra something to put on your CV. Plus, everyone receives full support from the Placement Officer and Careers Service to find a placement and to better your CV.

What do you do when you’re not studying?

Outside of University when I’m not studying I have karate which I have been doing  for six years now and I do swimming/snorkelling/diving every week which all occupy my time in between studying quite nicely and I really benefit from them as they give me a break from studying. I have a part-time job on the weekend as a waiter in a local restaurant and I have been in this job for several years now.  

What’s your accommodation like?

I live at home so accommodation is pretty good.

What would you like to do when you graduate?

When I first joined the course, I wanted to go on to further studies in dietetics which have not changed, however I am a keen sports person and I’m hoping to specialise in sports dietetics which I have been interested in ever since the Olympics: London 2012 was announced. 

Have you used Student Services during your course?

I have used the Careers Service before and found them to be quite helpful when I was advised to go speak to them when I changed from Criminology/Forensics to Human Nutrition. They are there to help and advise you and I always know where to go in future if I need it.

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

Coming straight from sixth form in school/college to University is a big step; so make sure you put effort into the 1st year and you’ll feel optimistic about 2nd and 3rd year. Some modules are challenging and not every one of them will be to your liking but you can always get help and support to meet deadlines. Finally I would say that having a hobby/interest outside University balances your time and is a good way to relax from studying. Just enjoy student life while you have got it and gain the benefits of University. 

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

Enjoyable, worthwhile, appealing.

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