For me, studying is fun and the college supported me every step of the way in my two years at NewVIc. I didn’t learn by reading textbooks but mainly by speaking and listening. I learned most by trying to ask at least one thoughtful question in each of my classes and speaking to my teachers and fellow students. Beyond this, the Honours programme at NewVIc introduced me to BBC Radio 4 and I have been an avid listener ever since.
In summary, what I did in my two years at college was to enjoy my studies. I had no particular end goal but I was driven by a wish to learn more about those things I was interested in. The best way to learn is by association, connecting something new to something you already know or making something ordinary into something fun. As far as I am concerned, the key to being a good student is to stay interested. That, and actually attending lessons!
Paying attention in class, listening to the radio and attending university open lectures kept things varied for me. Many of these lectures were free but I couldn’t have attended them without funding from NewVIc to help me with my travel. Never turn down a good deal; getting a student oyster card made it affordable to attend a plethora of lectures in different places. At these lectures I met a lot of interesting people but also got the chance to learn about things which went beyond the specifications of my courses. That made things even more exciting.
Being part of NewVIc’s Wad-ham programme with Wadham College Oxford, the King’s College London K+ Programme and the UCL Archaeology Summer Challenge helped a lot. The college signposted the path for me but I then had to walk it. This was my choice and I did it in my own time. Needless to say each programme was good fun and the other people who attended were fascinating to talk to. The great thing about NewVIc was the way it gave me a nudge very early on to find out about all these opportunities.
Actually applying to university
At first I really wanted to go to university. Once I started attending university open lectures in my own time, I realized that I was already attending! So it was odd in my second year to be trying to choose one university when I was already visiting so many different ones. I started to ask around, talking to my teachers at NewVIc about where they had studied aeons ago, I also asked the people from the lectures and everyone was very helpful! Time flew, and choosing just one didn’t feel quite right. In the end I decided to take some time off for a gap year, to give me time to think more about university or whatever awaits me.
So slightly by accident I am now working for a law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills. I still attend university open lectures when I can and it is really great working for the firm. I never studied IT but I have really got into it in my new job. This is part of an apprenticeship program so I am still learning.
I think the best advice I can give is to remember that time is very precious. It’s fine to spend time on social media but you also need to take time to develop yourself and meet new people face to face. Use your time well and don’t assume that ‘studying’ is just about following a syllabus – that’s only half the story. The rest is about you.
Amritpal Gill – NewVIc class of 2015
More posts in the ‘My NewVIc story’ series here