Coming from Trinidad and Tobago was one of the most challenging times for me. Moving away from home to a different country meant that I had to adjust to the culture and this took time. When I first started looking for universities in the UK, no other university apart from Lancaster had the list of qualities that I was looking for. I decided to attend Lancaster’s Summer School in July 2016. This changed my whole outlook on what I wanted to do with my life and I realised the different career paths that were available to me.
I am a first-year Criminology student and I absolutely love my course. My interest in criminology grew whilst I lived in Trinidad with high crime rates and wondering as a young child why there were more crimes in certain communities/ areas than others. From day one of being at Lancaster, I loved my modules. I particularly enjoyed learning about the various explanations of crime and the ways in which race influences experiences of the criminal justice system. Every time I attend a Criminology lecture, I am excited to tell my friends about what I learned.
If anyone is considering coming to Lancaster University, it is the best decision you will ever make. One of the best things about being in the Criminology Department at Lancaster is the support you receive from staff. When I first started, I was quite nervous, mainly because I was not sure if I would fit in. I didn’t need to worry so much as I was made to feel instantly welcome and was signposted to where I needed to go if I was struggling or finding things difficult. I found having this support really helpful.
One thing that is unique about studying Criminology at Lancaster is the fact that you get a chance to pick minor subjects to study alongside your major subject in your first year. You can choose from a range of subjects, both those that are related to Criminology (in my case) or from across the university. I chose Psychology and Politics as my minors and, so far, I have gained so much information that links with Criminology and helps me with my essays and criminological knowledge.
I cannot stress enough the number of academic opportunities available for students at Lancaster. There is always something going on that can improve key skills. For instance, there are writing skills workshops for Criminology students, which provide support with structuring and writing essays. One opportunity I am particularly interested in is the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Placement Year, offering the opportunity to work in industry for a year. There are many other work and voluntary experience opportunities available throughout the Criminology degree.
One skill that I have learned whilst being at University is time management. There is extensive support available, but independent learning and thinking is important to develop your knowledge. Staff at Lancaster really help with the transition from College to University, so it is much less daunting.
Apart from academic studies, it is important to balance this with your social life and extra curricular activities. I am part of an initiative called The Diplomatic Youth Association and we ensure that children who have had difficult upbringings/ backgrounds in Trinidad and Tobago have a chance to get a good education by making them aware of the opportunities in the world that they can access once they believe in themselves and do their work. Although I am in England, I do my part by making sure my family at home keeps the group active and beneficial to the children.
If anyone is considering whether they should study Criminology at Lancaster University, I would say go for it! I am proud whenever I read that Criminology is ranked #1 in The Times and Sunday Times 2018 league table. What other reasons could you need to study this degree?