#ECGrad – Former ECSA president moves on to university after graduating from college

Twenty-five-year-old Sarah Hay is delighted to be graduating after a few years of studying at College, which includes one year as President of Edinburgh College Students Association, and now leaves with a HNC in Social Services.

We caught up with Sarah to find out about her time at College and what her plans for the future are:

How do you feel about Graduating?

I am happy that I have finally graduated after a few long years of study and a year as President of the Edinburgh College Students’ Association.

What made you choose Edinburgh College for your studies?

It was the closest college to me that had the courses I wanted to take at a campus that I could get to.

What were you doing before starting at the college?

I worked in a fast food chain as a manager for five years.

Have you faced any challenges, either before starting or during your studies? How did you overcome them?

I faced many challenges whilst being a lone parent studying at college. Funding worries and childcare were a nightmare to navigate. I overcame them by asking for help and advice from ECSA and the Student Services department.

What was is it like learning online during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic was extremely hard at first with my daughter being off school and home learning herself. It was really hard to juggle live classes, assignments and my daughter’s school work. Once she was back to school, I actually really enjoyed home learning because I was still able to learn but I could do it from the comfort and the safety of my own home, and pick up my daughter from school everyday. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I was on campus.

Did you have to learn quickly how to use online platforms and how did you do that?

I already knew how to use platforms such as Moodle from previous years but I found working with Microsoft Teams was pretty easy once you got the hang of it. It was easier to contact lecturers and LDTs through teams than through email as you could see if they were actively online.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student starting at the college now, what would it be?

The one piece of advice I would give to a prospective student is that even though returning to education can be daunting, it’s so worthwhile! Stick to it and you could really surprise yourself.

Do you have any messages for the lecturers?

I would love to thank all of the lecturers on the HNC Social Services at Sighthill (Susie, Muriel and Keith). Even during the testing times of last year, your teachings have inspired and taught me so much. Susie – I wouldn’t of got into university if it wasn’t for your help and advice so thank you!!!!

What are your plans for the future? Are you going on to further study after college or into employment? What is your end goal?

I am currently undertaking a Masters degree programme (Learning in Communities) at the University of Edinburgh. My ultimate goal after I graduate is to work with young parent families.