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Why I love Buxton & Leek College…by Bethany Harrison

When I left school, I decided that staying on at my school’s sixth form and completing A Levels wasn’t for me. So, I enrolled into Buxton & Leek College’s Media course because I enjoyed photography and liked the idea of editing videos.

Even within the first few weeks of beginning my course I was much happier than I was at school, the relaxed atmosphere and more grown up attitude everyone seemed to have towards college made me feel comfortable and that I could be myself. At school it felt much more restricted and formal, college helped me feel more individual and that I wasn’t just another set of exam grades.

As I live in Ashbourne, (around 22 miles away) I commute over to college – for me this is a great part of my college experience as I can relax, listen to music and read for an hour at the beginning and at the end of the day. I also like coming to Buxton everyday as it is a change of scenery and is much bigger, there are more opportunities than in Ashbourne. I’ve also made some of my best friends in Buxton, that I would have never crossed paths with if I had stayed in Ashbourne.

I definitely prefer the time table and set out of college, we have lots of free time to do extra work in and time to socialise! The location and the building are beautiful so it is great to be able to spend time with my friends in and around the dome, plus the Pavilion Gardens are only a short walk away. Things like being able to go out during lunches and being able to go home when I don’t have a lesson for the rest of the day made me feel like I have more freedom, but also more responsibility as it is my duty to arrive to class on time. Plus, as students are treated more like adults, we are more on a level with the college tutors. Teachers don’t feel so intimidating anymore.

The college also has a great Student Wellbeing service in which if a student needs advice or support they can contact the team  and they can try their best to help the student any way they can. They offer confidential support on personal issues that may be impacting their studies. College also has a Union of Students that is in partnership with the University of Derby, which works for the students providing both support and activities. Activities such as sports teams, even things like Lacrosse is available for those students willing to get involved

Another huge difference I found was the facilities available to students. There is a student café that can be used for studying, socialising and eating, there is also a public café that offers the same thing downstairs. There is a student space called the Boiler House in which students can go to chill out, play table tennis or play video games. A huge improvement from school is the library which is also used by University students so it has many facilities that a school library doesn’t. There is a huge range in books and study resources, there is also loads of computers available for student use along with private rooms for a quiet study space. The library also offers laptops that are to be rented out, so you can use them around the college; like in the student café.

Enrichment is also a key part of college life; many activities are available and they are all in college. This year, activities such as yoga have been available along with bush craft, sign language and sports teams.

Overall, I believe that coming to Buxton & Leek College is probably the best decision of my life. It has equipped me with skills that I will use for the rest of my life, as well as more of an idea of what I want to do when I leave education. From college I would like to go on to university, skills I have learned during my time in the Media course will help me continue my studies into the media sector and hopefully help me in getting a full-time job in the industry. Buxton & Leek College helps students, no matter what course they’re doing, to become successful.