Supporting the move to Lancaster

Moving to a new country comes with mixed feelings, the excitement about new experiences; the sadness from leaving home, family and friends. In my case, the excitement outweighed the sad thoughts. I was so excited to come to Lancaster having studied online from the beginning of the academic year until November.

Before the start of the programme, LUMS had different online sessions with the incoming students to enlighten us about our transition to Lancaster, what we needed to do and bring, activities we could engage in, the support we could get, where we could shop, and so on.

There was a meeting organised for the incoming students, which was one of the most insightful and well-detailed meetings I have ever attended. It was so organised and informed, with talks about programmes and the contacts, accommodation, places to shop, the support available on campus, and so on, from the basics to the bigger concerns. I was amazed at the content and the support we could get on campus.

The lecturers have been helpful and always ready to listen to any questions; I always hear my lecturers say no idea or question is stupid, everyone’s opinion is welcomed. Thanks to their support, I have become more expressive, as I can ask any question and make contributions in class without being judged. This also helps me with my studies, because I can send emails to the lecturers and my concerns are cleared in the shortest time.

We are divided into small cohorts for each module (about six people in a group) for online tutorials. This way, we get the necessary support from our classmates. It helps us to know ourselves better and share ideas, and also helps us have a sense of belonging, as some people are still studying from home.

I have a job on campus through the ERS website. The opening for this position was in October, which meant I was still at home when I applied. Just before I applied, I used the ERS portal to restructure my CV and learn how to write a proper cover letter: the portal provides support from writing a CV to preparing for an interview. I received an invite for interview and I didn’t know what to expect; there was the fear of not meeting expectations or not being a good fit, so I booked a session with the Careers team for a mock interview. That was the most relieving experience for me, the support I received from the team was amazing. They were super supportive and helpful, I even got another free session, which was helpful. During the mock interview, I was coached on how to answer questions, how to interpret questions, the timing I can allocate to answering a question, etc.

In November, I arrived at Manchester Airport and there was a free pickup service for me at the airport, provided to all students arriving in Lancaster. With Covid still on the rise, it was thoughtful of the school to assist.

When I arrived on campus, the porter was extremely nice, assisting in carrying my luggage to my room and showing me around my flat. I received a support package from Lancaster University to assist during the two weeks’ self-isolation, as I couldn’t go out to purchase anything. During my self-isolation, I received daily emails from the graduate accommodation team and welfare team to check up on me and see if I needed any form of support.

My flatmates were very supportive, as were the friends I made before my arrival. Immediately after my isolation period, my flatmates and friends showed me around campus. During the Christmas season, the graduate accommodation team provided us with Christmas packages like cookies, drinks and cakes. This was my first Christmas away from family, and I found that cool.

My college has been so helpful in providing the support I need. Before the start of my exams, I had two sessions with the Academic and Writing Learning team to get a better understanding of matters relating to my exams and essays. This support is great, because some students get to have extra English classes to improve their language and it also helps provide tips on academic excellence. My experience in Lancaster so far has proven to me that studying should be an enjoyable experience.

The support at Lancaster University has been great and very much needed, especially in these strange times. My student experience has been great as well, except that there are limited places to explore due to the national lockdown. But I did experience my first snow, which was so exciting!

Bolarinwa Jolaade

MSc Information Technology, Management and Organisational Change