Andrea Thorogood

BA Hons Health Studies, 2001

What attracted you to choose the University of Bedfordshire and to study your course here?

For me at the point I was choosing my course for University I wanted something that would be quite flexible career wise at the end. At that stage I was not entirely sure what I wanted to do at the end of my course , but I had been inspired to come to University by my volunteering. I knew I wanted to work helping people in some way in the local community and that was about it. So I choose a BA Hons in Health studies degree as it did not really tie me to just one area of work and lots of the modules were really interesting to me. Throughout the course we looked at the impact of health in many different ways and there was also lots of Sociology related topics which I found really interesting.

When I came e to look round too I just found that it felt right here and I was made to feel very welcome.

What is your strongest memory of your time at University of Bedfordshire?

I had a lovely lecturer called Jessie Fergusson who really helped to support and develop me whilst I was studying here. I still see her from time to time. She always remembers her students and she is so happy to hear how we have all done. She gave the course the personal touch and she encouraged us to go out of our comfort zone to do things and get involved. I also remember how much fun I had here as a student just meeting new people ( people I am still friends with now) I met so many people from different courses and different backgrounds that it just made life really interesting for the 3 years I studied here.

What is the one thing you would say about University of Bedfordshire to someone who doesn't know anything about it?

I would say it is an interesting and vibrant place to come to . I love the energetic feel here and you get to meet some wonderful student and staff members. Just by getting to know these people from all over the world it helps to enrich your life experience and how you think about things. I would say get to know the local community in Bedfordshire too as there are so many great people and there is so much going on to get involved with.

How did you change as a person during your time at University of Bedfordshire, and how has your time here influenced your life and career since then?

I think I grew as a person by coming here in many ways. I grew confident in the skills that I had ( and the ones I developed here ). We did many presentations as part of our course and I think that really helped me in my future career as I have to do a lot of public speaking even now. I liked how we were encouraged to look at things critically and to voice an opinion even if differed from others in the class. I don't think I had really got the chance to do this throughout School and College. I became more independent being able to do things for myself and it pushed me outside of my comfort zone to network with others and meet new people. Even now I find it easy to strike up conversations with new people and I do not feel nervous about going in to new situations.

It also introduced me into the community of Luton. I was from Kent and stayed here after I had finished to find work locally. I found there is so much great stuff going on here in the community and I met some lovely people that I did not want to leave and I found there were more opportunities for me here.

What has been your career highlight to date?

This is a difficult one but I have got to travel a couple of times with my career. So I went to Bangladesh on a youth exchange in my first job and since then I have also been to Tanzania on a student led book project where we collected old school textbooks from the UK to give to schools out there. And also a few years ago I took part in a Global Exchange programme run through VSO where we went to Indonesia to shadow workers in similar roles to us and then they came to the UK to shadow us. But sometimes it is not even the bigger things that matter to me some of my highlights have included talking a few weeks ago at an International Women evening in the local community and it was lovely to be among other active inspiring women from the local community . I also find it really uplifting when I hear from students that have volunteered in the past and they come back and say hi or pop me an email. It is great to hear what they are doing now and how they have developed.

What are your top tips for students aspiring to work in your profession?

Get involved !! I would say that you need to gain some kind of experience whilst you are studying. My course played a huge part in my development but I also did lots of volunteering outside of my course . This helped me develop even further and put me in real life situations where I could use what I was learning in the class room. There are some many opportunities to volunteer in the local community and even within the University so I think you have to be really motivated and just take advantage of this as much as you can. In my first job interview after University I was talking about a conference that I had spoken at in London whilst volunteering . The person interviewing me said I was there and I remember your group talking. I was just so shocked as I did not expect that but it just goes to show how wide your experiences can take you. You can tell why I am now in my role as Volunteering Manager at Beds SU.

What do your shoes say about your personality?

I tend to have lots of bright coloured shoes (like my hair) so I think that says I am a bright and cheerful person in general.

Which section of a bookshop do you gravitate to?

I love reading although now I have a child I must say I do not get to do it so much ! I would say I am pretty open-minded about books and I am happy to read anything but I tend to like crime books something that is quite gripping, I love a Martina Cole story!

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