Becky shares some of her views on the course, studying and living in York.
I took two years out after school and worked as a community development assistant and part time youth worker. I applied to study graphic design at a few universities first and then realised I wanted to study social sciences as it was an area I was rapidly developing an interest for and I felt it would be more relevant to what I wanted to do after graduating.
The course was totally unique. I didn’t want to study sociology and I knew I wanted to focus on children and young people. Most universities offer education studies, youth studies, childhood development etc, but I wanted to study young people from a policy angle and this course was the only one I found that offered that. I liked how it offered a broad base of subjects in the first year too, giving me a background on politics and economics as well as the wider social issues I was more interested in.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first arrived at university. I didn’t come on an open day, or visit the university before I started, and I’d had a couple of years out after school so I thought I’d be older than my course mates. I was pleasantly surprised from a range of angles. I’ve enjoyed nearly every aspect of the course so far.
The first year gave us an overview of all the different components of social science and I found myself getting really interested in subjects that I hadn’t thought that much about for, which guided my choices for my second and third years. I’m particularly interested in issues relating to young people and although the modules are quite broad, when it comes to writing essays or focusing on one particular area I’ve always being able to write about what I’m interested in. I do some voluntary work with a charity that looks at national and local youth policy and it’s been great to study it alongside seeing it applied in practice.
Another good part of studying at York is that the people leading our modules are also doing research in the kind of subjects that I want to work in after graduating. My tutor in particular has been great and helped to guide my direction of study and how it might relate to work outside of university. I think the tutor system works really well, meeting once or twice a term. I think it helps to keep you on track and feeling like the university know who you are and how you’re doing.
I lived in Alcuin in my first year, which I think (obviously!) is the nicest college to live in. The buildings are all modern, the rooms were bigger than I thought they would be, and the blocks are built around grass courtyards where in the summer we sat out to have bbqs or study. My flat had 12 ensuite bedrooms and a shared kitchen and it had quite a community feel to it. Although we were all quite different, we all got on well and in my second year I moved into a house with four of them.
The college also had its own launderette, bar and café, and junior common room where they organised events and which we used a few times to watch films in. I’ve never had to access pastoral care but we were introduced to the college provost and welfare officers during freshers week and I’d know where to go and find help if I needed it. It’s nice to know the porters and security staff are always on call too, it makes walking round campus feel much safer even though I’ve never had cause to think otherwise. In my experience, very few people choose to spend the whole evening on campus if they are looking for a night out, and the uni bars are used mainly for pre-drinks before heading into town, or as an end to a night after society meetings or plays at the drama barn.
The city of York itself is an amazing place to live and I really love it. It’s not as big as somewhere like Leeds or Manchester but I think it has more character and is a more friendly place to walk around. People sometimes say that the nightlife isn’t that great but I’ve had loads of really great nights out with friends. There are lots of clubs, pubs and bars to visit, but we also often take advantage of cheap or free student tickets to the theatre or cinema, or eat out. The city is great during the day too and we sometimes go in after uni and sit in a cafe or one of the parks and chat or study. It doesn’t have loads of high-street shops, but compared to where I’m from there are enough for everything I need, and I really like the older bits of the city like the Shambles where there are lots of little unique shops, and the market.
I’m interested in youth policy and how it’s developed and implemented so I think I’d either like to go into that kind of work, or continue to study as a postgraduate doing research into specific youth issues.
Applied Social Science - Children and Young People
Our Children and Young People specialist Applied Social Science degree allows you to focus your studies on a specific area of social science, with a placement shadowing opportunity to see first hand the relationship of policy and practice.
I do some voluntary work with a charity that looks at national and local youth policy and it’s been great to study it alongside seeing it applied in practice.