Afifa Tambe – English and Creative Writing BA (Hons)
“I had already decided on an English degree but after talking to the staff about the course I decided to do the English and Creative Writing degree. I used to write for pleasure but felt intimidated in attempting to write at degree level but after speaking to the lecturers, I felt as if I would be welcomed and that I would have the chance to develop and improve myself as a writer.
For me a big part of deciding to come to Newman was attending an open day event. At this point, I’d already attended open days at two other universities, walking into Newman something clicked for me. It was such a warm and welcoming place, the student ambassadors, the staff at the information kiosks and the lecturers, everyone was so earnest and helpful. The lecturers were so passionate about their work and so happy to talk about the course and my interests with me. When I left at the end of the day I felt really happy with my experience and I had a sense that at Newman I’d be supported and that I’d have the space to explore myself as a person.
My course has exceeded a lot of my expectations. What I find really amazing about the course is how flexible it is in terms of assignments. For every assignment I’ve completed I feel like I was able to talk about something that was relevant to me and explore my interests in my work. None of the assessments has a single set answer, which means that you can really engage with the subject and find an angle that interests you.
If I had to use one word to describe Newman it would be friendly. One of the things I love about studying here is that everyone is always so welcoming. Since we’re such a small university you tend to see the same faces often. I can’t count the number of people I chat to, who I made friends with just by seeing them regularly in the atrium or the corridors. The English department is wonderful, all the lecturers are incredibly passionate about their subject and they’re always willing to see you for a tutorial. I feel like they really get to know you and get a feel for the kind of person you are which really helps as a student.
As a part of our second-year creative writing module we went on several day trips in order to develop pieces inspired by nature. This included a visit to the Botanical Gardens and the Woodbrooke Quaker Centre. I found the trips to be incredibly inspiring and ended up developing several different pieces based on nature in Britain compared to hotter climates.
A big part of choosing to study at Newman, for me, was based on the supportive environment we have here. Not only are the lecturers incredibly supportive and understanding, we also have the student services. The student services were a big help to me as a student, especially the learning development team and the support advisors, who have been there to help me better understand how to approach my assignments and what I need to do to achieve my best as a student.
I am involved in quite a few different extracurricular activities, certainly more than I expected to be involved in initially! I volunteered to be a student rep my fist two years, which meant I would collect feedback about our course from my fellow students and then bring that up during SSCC meetings. I also work as a student ambassador which is something I really enjoy! I help support lots of different events going on in the university as well as working during open days. I also volunteer for a project that runs Pre-Entry 1 ESOL English classes in communities around Birmingham. This was something that I started doing as a part of my work placement module in second year. I’ve kept doing it because it’s something that I really enjoy and something that lets me help others in a way that has an impact.
Once I finish my degree, I’m hoping to continue onto a PGCE course. I want to use my degree to help others and I feel like teaching is the best way for me to do that.
One piece of advice I would give future students is to take the time, to get involved in different things on and off campus! Trying new things can really help you develop confidence and gives you an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends!”