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Friday, 24 October 2014

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Freshers week helps new students settle in college

FIRST-YEAR students from across West Cumbria were given a taste of campus life this month at Lakes College’s freshers day.

The Lillyhall college welcomed around 200 students starting the new term with a day of entertainment. Live bands including House of Three Hands and Jolan played to the crowds while magician Joel Dickinson and performers from the Bread and Butter Theatre Company entertained the students. A barbecue was also laid on.

The event was the first to be held inside the new special education needs centre which was built during the summer.

It also offered students the chance to talk about further education issues that are affecting them.

Paria Faezi, 16, of Little Clifton, started a business administration course three weeks ago. She said: “The freshers event has been a great way to get to know new students at college. It’s given us all a chance to let our hair down after our first week here and get into student mode. The atmosphere is like being at university and everyone is so welcoming. I have made some great friends already and I’m only just into the start of my course.”

Courtney Musson, 17, of Egremont, is also a business administration student. She said: “It’s been an introductory week with everyone getting used to college life so I’m looking forward to getting started on my course proper. I’ll be on the level two course for one year then I’ll go onto the level three admin course that will last two years.

“It already seems strange compared to being at secondary school. You’re given more responsibility for your own learning here which comes with more responsibilities such as being organised. You also get a lot more respect from people and tutors – they treat you like an adult at college.”

Tiffanie Blair, 17, of Ewanrigg, Maryport, is a student on the same business administration course. “The bands have been great at the freshers event this afternoon,” she said. “There’s been a real buzz around college and it’s made our first week here end on a high.

“It’s a culture change from being at school and you have to quickly learn to mix with new people. You’re definitely flung out of your comfort zone but I suppose it’s preparing you for life.

“Coming to college has meant I can work part-time in between my course hours so I can help pay towards the costs of travel and course material.

“For the time being I’m going to enjoy being a student but I’ll hopefully get a job after I finish my course. There are plenty of opportunities out there for young people you just need to put in hard work and have a little luck to get there.”

Marc Heslop, 17, of Frizington, is a level three health and social care student. He also enjoyed the party atmosphere of the freshers day. “An event like this is a great idea for everyone to socialise and mix with people on their course,” he said. “It’s not just first year students who are enjoying the day, older students are also coming to join in.”

Marc, who hopes to become a paramedic when he leaves college, said students nowadays have more pressure to find a job or even a training scheme. “The good thing about studying at Lakes College is the fact that tutors and student support services help us to find a placement or job after our course ends.”

Laura-Anne Hanrahan, 17, of Workington, said the event was typical of the kind of encouragement students get at Lakes College. “There has been all sorts going on throughout the day here and it’s nice to see new students taking in what will become their second home for the next couple of years at least.

“The college is always doing something for new students and in turn existing students are playing their part in welcoming the newcomers. People tend to mix with all year groups within a course subject so that support network is extended right through the ages. That’s how it should be as going to college and further education has enough pressures as it is, especially since the Government announced its cutbacks in education.”

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