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Piper Dobbie

Piper Dobbie, 19, from Sheffield, recently completed a Foundation Year in Humanities after gaining her place at Northumbria University through Clearing in 2020.

When her plans for her original choice of university didn’t work out, Piper didn’t give up hope. She was helped by Northumbria’s Clearing team to find a course she loves and is now looking forward to starting an undergraduate degree in History at the university.

Reflecting on her experiences, Piper said: “When I look back now, I’m so pleased with how things worked out. I was planning to do a different course at another university, but when I didn’t get a place, I stayed positive as I knew there would be light at the end of the tunnel.

“I had read about Northumbria through emails I’d received and on results day, I phoned the Clearing hotline for advice and was asked about my interests. I love history and the arts and the advisor I spoke to offered me a place on a Foundation Year in the Humanities. It was a really easy process, the team were so helpful, and I felt so good that Northumbria wanted me as a student.

“My Foundation course has been amazing. It’s been a mix of history, language and linguistics, literature, and I’ve learned everything from Newcastle’s heritage to exploring subcultures and identities.

“The past year has given me a great taste of uni life, I really recommend a Foundation course as it helps to prepare you for your degree. I now know the type of career I would like to go into, either as an archivist or music historian.”

Piper joined university in the midst of COVID-19 and initially felt anxious due to the pandemic and being away from home for the first time in 18 years.

“I’ve had lots of support from Northumbria,” she said. “The university kept in touch to see how I was doing and sent regular emails with mental health support. My personal tutor checked in regularly with me and the seminar tutors have been great too.

“I moved to Glenamara, my accommodation, just before Freshers’ Week started. Some activities were socially distanced on site, but the Students’ Union did a great job of hosting lots of online events. For the first few weeks, it was hard getting used to things, but it also gave me my independence.

“Although I’m looking forward to going back to in person learning, I’ve been impressed with the online learning and all the materials available. I’ve been able to do my own research on the subjects I enjoy.

“As someone who was worried about the pandemic, it was reassuring to know that the university was there for me.”

Piper is now looking forward to exploring more of Newcastle’s arts and culture scene, when she returns to start the first year of her History degree in September. “I love the art galleries, music venues and markets in the city. I’ve made friends and everything is so close by and easy to get to. I’m lucky to be staying at Glenamara next year too, and I can’t wait to socialise, join in activities and societies and meet more people in person again.”

She has some important words of advice for other students who find themselves in a situation they weren’t expecting: “Don’t worry, or panic. It’s not the end of the world if things don’t go to plan. Keep an open mind, there’s nothing embarrassing about going through Clearing. If you speak to the team at Northumbria, they will guide you in the right direction. I’m so happy I chose to come here.”

Northumbria University has a limited number of places available for students through Clearing this summer. For more information, visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/clearing or call the Clearing Hotline on 0800 085 1085.


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