WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO CENTRAL BEDFORDSHIRE COLLEGE?

It’s close to where I live, which is convenient - especially having to balance family life with college life. Also, I had a really good experience when I attended the college back in 1996-1999 to study the NNEB childcare course. I’d researched the college online and read about other students’ experiences that were really positive, and the college had the facilities for mature people to attend and a large range of HE courses - fortunately one of them was the HE Photography course that I was interested in.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT AT CBC?

I have had quite a few! Completing the course and seeing my work up on display at our end of term photography exhibition was a proud moment, as was winning Student of the Year for – as quoted from my tutor – “meticulous attention to detail, constantly pushing herself to achieve perfection and her unwavering commitment to her course whilst balancing family life.” Personally inviting the Mayor of Dunstable to our end of year photography exhibition (by email) and seeing her turn up at the event after accepting the invite. And having an overwhelming moment when my certificate arrived in the post showing I had passed the HNC Photography course – I just burst into tears knowing that the hard work, dedication, and sweat and tears I put into my work paid off; it was worth it.

HOW ABOUT THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU’VE FACED?

Adapting to being in a college environment after working in the caring industry for over 19 years. Being a mature student, I did not know if I would find it easy to settle in with younger students especially as I have children of my own but from day one everyone I met on the course was so friendly, encouraging and supportive of one another. Knowing how to put an assignment together and learning all the photographic techniques as well as learning how to use a camera was challenging, as was balancing doing my college work along with balancing being a mum. I managed to pull through the stress with the help and support of my peers on the course and the tutors.

HOW DID THE STAFF AT CBC SUPPORT YOU THROUGH YOUR COURSE?

The staff are always there to listen; they’re sympathetic to your needs and feelings especially when balancing family life. You are always treated as an equal and with respect. They help to guide you in the right direction by giving you advice on the brief you’re given; they give you one-to-one feedback which is really useful and if you are struggling in a certain area they inform you of the help, guidance and facilities available to you.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE A DAY AT CBC?

Exciting and fun, especially when you are working in the studio. You have the opportunity to be yourself and realise your potential, as well as socialising with your peers. Every day is informative, especially when having group tutorials and practical work with the photographic equipment.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK AND GIVE YOURSELF SOME ADVICE WHEN YOU STARTED AT CBC, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

To believe in myself and my abilities, have more self-confidence and stop doubting myself.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT CBC?

The different varieties and levels of courses available for students, having an excellent range of facilities especially in the Media department and overall the compassion and support that the tutors have and give to ensure that students succeed in their learning. Making new friends and the opportunity to be myself, Kelly, as well as being a mum.

TOP TIP FOR SUCCESS AT CBC?

Believe in yourself because you can achieve anything you want if you put your mind to it, commit yourself and work hard for your dream. At times it will get hard and overwhelming – believe me, there have been days that I cried thinking I could never do it but with the support from staff at the college, my peers and my family I got through it and I am so proud of myself that I did not give up. In the words of CBC, “DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LOVE WHAT YOU DO”! Giving up is the easy part but to succeed you need to strive to believe in yourself and know that the hard work will pay off.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR AFTER CBC?

I have always dreamed of setting up my own photography business so a future plan of mine in years to come is to do this but because I have enjoyed the experience of college I am seriously considering furthering my photographic skills and education and hope to progress onto university to do my degree next year once I have passed my HND.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO PEOPLE CONSIDERING ENROLLING AT CBC?

Don’t hold yourself back! College has changed my life. Not only have I achieved qualifications, I have gained more confidence in myself and my abilities. It is a mature environment so you are treated with respect. You are able to focus on the one subject that interests you rather than having to focus on many subjects like you have to at school. I have already given my daughter this advice as she is leaving school next year and after attending the Open Day on 1st November she has definitely decided to enrol at CBC in as she was so impressed with the facilities and warm welcome from the friendly staff.

FINALLY, IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE CBC IN ONE WORD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Lifechanging.

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