During 2016/2017 I did the foundation year in social science in order to progress onto my first undergraduate year into criminology. Taking the foundation year was not even an option I had even considered, and unfortunately I had no choice but to do it. I am going to give a little backstory first of why it came down to this.
I originally went into university in September 2014 to study Criminology. I remember getting the email from UCAS that I got my unconditional offer from Keele and was just bawling my eyes out to my mum. It was a really exciting moment as I was the first person in my family to go university. My parents drove me all the way to Keele which was extremely chaotic as my mum, dad and grandpa came along for the journey as well as ALL of my stuff to move into halls. I really struggled the first few months and it got to a point where I began isolating myself which had a massive affect on my studies because I started not to go to lectures. And I was absolutely terrified of going to tutorials because I am not good at public speaking, or being around people in general.
Throughout the months of October to January, my granddad became sick often, which resulted him being in and out of hospital a lot. On the 3rd week of March I got a phone call from my mum around 2pm. When I answered it, it was my dad, which is very weird because my dad cannot even use a phone. I got the news that my granddad had gone into hospital again and was given 2 days to live. That is the only part of the conversation I remember having with my dad, and the next few hours were a complete blur. I ordered a ticket up to London when I hung up and grabbed a rucksack and left. It only took me 2 and a half hours to get there, which meant I arrived before my parents as they travelled up from Cornwall. So I got to the hospital, spoke to my Nan, cousins, uncles etc. and was finally able to see my granddad. Despite what my dad had told me, my granddad looked and seemed fine. When he saw me the first thing he said was “What the hell are you doing here?” – classic granddad.
We all spent the night and was told that my granddad could go home and full time care would be provided; as they predicted longer than a couple of days. I decided to go back to my nans that evening because Easter holiday was approaching at university which meant I had to pack up all my stuff and get out of halls! Unfortunately, my nan got a call early morning to say my granddad had passed away at the hospital.
This was the first death I had experienced and it really shook me. I made the decision to go back to university that same day, and to leave for good. I spoke to somebody, signed a form and handed in my keys. I was told I could come back in a few months to start again. I was quite adamant at that time, that I would not be returning. I moved to London to help organise the funeral and stayed with my Nan for a few months.
Fast forward to 2016
Because I did not accept Keele’s offer to come back in September, I had to take a foundation year to progress onto year 1. When I found out I was devastated for a few different reasons.
- I did ok in my a-levels, and if I was able to go into 1st year the first time around, why not again?
- I have to contact student finance to get a final years payment because leaving in March counts as a full year
➣ Still have not heard whether I have been accepted; which will be so frustrating if I only get to year 2.
- Taking the foundation year felt like an insult and that I was not capable.
- They had not record of the time I left nor the reason.
ANYWAY – I am no longer bitter; well just about the student finance because it’s still in limbo. The foundation year is probably one of the best things I have done.
About the Course:
I did the social science foundation year, but there are others which are tailored to the course you will be doing after. These include, science, health, humanities and general foundation courses. I found the entire year really tough! Overall I had 7 modules for the first semester and 6 for the second; each module with A LOT of work. These are the modules I did if you are interested:
- Academic Development
- Writing for Social Sciences
- Social Theory and Political Thought
- Europe and the Modern World
- Crime, Science & Investigation
- Criminology: An Introduction
- Global Political Society
- Sociology Across the Life Course
Some of the modules you would need a certain pass mark; for example as I wanted to progress onto Criminology, I needed 60% in Introduction to Criminology and Crime, Science and Investigation. Most of the work consisted of portfolios of key readings, notes and essay plans. As well as essays and group presentations. Again, depends on your modules!
I am so happy I completed the foundation year! It really teaches you to be organised, mature, and how to work with others. In my original year, I was not happy and it definitely had an impact on my mental well-being, but I feel I have grown and become more self-aware of my needs as well as what I am capable of. One of the greatest things that the foundation year had was the support & positivity from: staff, teachers and students. You really get a lot of support, which is something I was quite nervous about – but I made several meetings with my tutor to go over any worries & to create plans to make my time at Keele better. I had already done my first year and I did find it hard to get involved, make friends and tackle the workload so that overall experience was not fantastic.
I received a high 2:1 from my foundation year; which I was VERY proud of! Getting useful and detailed feedback from my tutors was extremely helpful – which I still use to apply to a lot of my work that I have submitted over the past year.