John Moran Educational - Trust Making financial awards to support the entry into higher education
 
Student Profiles

The Trust has made awards to over forty two deserving students from the Merseyside region since it was set up in 2003. Here’s more about what these students did with their awards, and what it meant to them:

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Profile thirty one

I am an eighteen year old student from a disadvantaged area of Liverpool who has recently completed four A Levels. Like many other students, studying for their examinations I had other commitments. As a member of several music groups I was required to attend and perform in numerous rehearsals, competitions and concerts and as Head Girl of my school and as a Buddy and Prefect I completed many duties and played an integral role in school life. Although I had many responsibilities I was still able to achieve a B in English Literature, a B in Psychology, a C in Spanish and a Distinction in OCR Level 3 National Certificate in ICT. After obtaining these grades I successfully obtained a place on a four year course at Manchester Metropolitan University.  This course is a combined honours degree in which I will be studying English Literature and Spanish. I have chosen to pursue these subjects because my ambition is to teach and use the skills gained on this course to aid others. I am aware that Spanish and English are two of the most widely spoken languages in the world and I believe that through learning and teaching these languages, I can increase my own and the potential of others. Therefore after completing this course I intend on returning to Liverpool to attain my PGCE.

Living in a single parent household in social housing in a disadvantaged area of Liverpool, I recognised that financial aid from home would have a dramatic effect on my mother and two younger siblings; therefore I was forced to seek out other methods of financial aid. My school’s student advisor recommended the John Moran Educational Trust and I am thrilled to have successfully obtained an award of £1000 towards my accommodation costs from this Trust because due to unforeseen circumstances I have had to select accommodation in a private halls of residence; the expense of which is much greater. The struggle to find accommodation was very worrying because I was concerned I would be unable to attend university or be eligible to receive the award from the John Moran Trust. However, the Trust was very understanding and reassuring and helped to resolve the situation.

It is difficult to find the words to express how grateful I am to have received the generous financial support from The John Moran Educational Trust. The supports has not only allowed me to attend the university of my choice but has dramatically reduced the financial pressure on both myself and my family. Thank You.

During my first year at University I discovered many new things, not only in relation to my course but also about myself. I realised that I was able to live independently in an unfamiliar city and for the first time I had to budget and make decisions without the support of my family all of which I successfully undertook.

Although I did not gain a place in University student halls the accommodation I resided in was still overrun with students and fortunately two of my now close friends lived in the apartment opposite mine. Initially the idea of living in this accommodation was daunting and scary but after being introduced to this pair one of whom studies Spanish and the other English, I felt less overwhelmed. These friends, along with the handful of people I met during numerous welcome events I attended, made attendance at my first lectures easier.

My lectures were warm and inviting, encouraging us to ask questions and providing us with all the necessary information. Initially studying Spanish was overwhelming as the professor presented her lectures in a flurry of Spanish. Thankfully I was not the only student who struggled to follow and the lecturer altered her approach, suggesting additional books for us to consult and pausing to allow us to ask questions. The sessions quickly grew easier to follow and to understand and I was always made to feel comfortable enough to approach the lecturer or a friend to seek advice.

During the Fresher’s fair I signed up to both the English and Spanish societies, which both met regularly for educational and social purposes. With these groups I have explored the city, visiting shopping centres, restaurants, museums and libraries. At Christmas we even participated in the local festivities. My favourite gathering was when a dozen of the Spanish society members attended the local Christmas fair. We sampled an assortment of food and drink from various places, purchased a handful of Christmas gifts before going ice skating on the ice rink. I enjoy being a member of these societies because not only did they help me make friends but also during the examination period their advice and support was invaluable. We met regularly for study periods and used the message board to share ideas, provide support and ask questions. It certainly eased my nerves for the examinations.

I am thrilled I chose to study Spanish and English Literature because the course content is stimulating, challenging and fun. I have developed my proficiency in each subject. I particularly enjoyed developing my knowledge of Franco’s regime in Spain and his involvement in World War 11 as well as researching and discussing the concept of the uncanny in relation to texts such as Frankenstein and Jekyll and Hyde.

Alongside my studies I also secured a position as University Ambassador. This involved handing out and completing university surveys, acting as a University guide, amongst other things This experience was extremely beneficial. It helped develop my confidence and obviously the remittance was greatly appreciated.

I am extremely grateful to the John Moran Trust for their help towards my maintenance costs because without them living independently would not have been possible. I would not have had the opportunity to live alone, realise I have the potential to cope alone nor would I have been given the luxury to live comfortably moments away from my University and all its facilities. Their support has been extremely beneficial. It has made studying and socialising easier and had helped me develop my personal skills. Skills that will make my year long visit to Spain in my third year much easier to manage.

I am also thankful for the trust’s encouragement and support. Their contact over the course of the year was comforting. It made settling in easier and during the difficult Christmas examination period their encouragement increased my desire to succeed.

I am now looking forward to my second year. I have already begun reading and researching the recommended texts in preparation for the beginning of term. I’m glad I chose to study and live in Manchester because it is a great city and I have already secured accommodation in a shared house with a group of four firm friends. Again I would like to thank the John Moran Trust for their support because without them none of this would have been possible.

My second year was far better than my first particularly in terms of living arrangements. I faced a lot of problems during my first year whilst living in student accommodation but during my second year I was able to choose who I lived with. I chose to live with four other girls, who I had met and forged friendships with during my first year, in a small house close to our university campus.

This new and improved living situation gave me the freedom to be myself and encouraged me to participate in more social activities. I felt relaxed and far more positive living with these girls who had supported me and who I had supported through the difficulties we faced, both with regard to our living situation and often times, the heavy workload.

I am grateful that I was able to live independently with this small group of girls, primarily because it helped me cement a strong friendship with one of the girls who will also be studying abroad this September. We have both now arranged to live together in the same city in Spain. Another girl will also join us. We visited the city briefly in July to organise living arrangements and to get a better look at the city where we will be living for a year. The knowledge that I will be moving to a new country with a friend has made this prospect a lot less daunting.

From the beginning of the second year we began discussing and organising our trip abroad. We had to research our options and come to a decision independently and were expected to find accommodation ourselves. Though difficult at times, this was a great learning curve. It improved my confidence considerably, especially with regard to the Spanish language as I had to contact landlords and representatives and professors from the receiving institution in Spain in order to finalise agreements.

Whilst preparing for our year abroad I also continued with my studies in both English Literature and Spanish. With regard to the classes during second year, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to increase and develop my knowledge and understanding in all areas of my subjects but particularly in Spanish. We were given more opportunities to speak with Spanish students, not only during our speaking classes but also outside of the learning environment during events organised by the Spanish society. I particularly enjoyed developing my proficiency in the language this way, but engaging with the language formally was also very enjoyable. During our classes in the second year there was a lot more focus on translation and the tools used to accurately translate texts from English to Spanish and Spanish to English. I found these classes to be the most interesting because it not only helped me acquire new skills but I also learned a lot more complicated vocabulary that will hopefully benefit me on my year abroad.

In English we focused on texts written during the Nineteenth Century. As an avid reader I really enjoyed the English classes I took this year and have since decided that, though I love the Spanish language, I will major in this subject when I return from my year abroad in 2014.

I am looking forward to my third year. I have booked my flights and have begun packing for my trip abroad. It will be difficult but I feel that it will be an excellent learning curve and will help me acquire a wealth of vocabulary and cultural knowledge. I am glad I chose to study English Literature and Spanish at Manchester Metropolitan University because it is proving to be a great experience so far.

At university I study both English Literature and Spanish and as part of this degree I was expected to spend a year in a Spanish speaking country.  This year, as part of the third year of my degree, I studied in a prestigious university in Alcala de Henares, Spain.

A statutory requirement of this course is that we had to successfully achieve a B2 Level in the Spanish Language Course made available by the host institution in Spain.  Due to this, two fellow students and I had to leave England earlier than anticipated.  We left in late August and after quickly moving into an old fashioned, four bed, typically Spanish apartment near the centre of town, we began our intense two week long course.

Though the course was difficult and the classes long and exhausting in the hot and humid August weather, I am glad that we started early because not only were we able to meet other Erasmus and International students but it was an excellent opportunity to revise the Spanish language.  We revised old techniques and quickly learned new skills and the vocabulary that would help us during our stay and whilst studying at the university.

University commenced soon after we successfully completed the course.  At this university we were expected to acquire a certain number of credits, therefore I had to study ten different subjects over two semesters.  This was very difficult as I was not accepted onto all of the courses that I originally chose, because these classes were oversubscribed, leaving me to study several final year courses for subjects I had not studied since high school, including religion and history.  Though, initially, I struggled, I worked hard and read the suggested texts and books that fellow students and professors recommended and was able to follow the classes more easily and complete the work.

The workload for each of these classes was very difficult.  We were expected to complete a number of tasks after each class, in addition to several essays and some exams.  I particularly struggled in the second semester when I was studying three literature classes because all assessments and work, both written and spoken and the texts and books we were expected to read were in Spanish so as a non-native speaker, it was more difficult and it took longer than the university allowed for completion of these tasks.

In addition to studying at the university, I was also employed to teach a young Spanish girl English for up to three hours a week.  I had to prepare lessons each week ensuring they catered to the young girls needs and in liaising with her parents.  I ensured that I complemented the English classes she received at school.  I thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity, because the family were extremely welcoming and the young girl was so enthusiastic to learn and it made teaching extremely fulfilling.

Though I struggled to integrate myself with the Spanish students in my university classes, I did meet other Spanish students at events designed for the Erasmus and International students.  I also met regularly with two different Spanish graduates who were eager to improve their English.  I met with these Spanish people at least once a week to go for coffee or something to eat and with their help I got to understand the Spanish language much better and also the city and country I was living in. They both gave me guided tours of different areas of the city, including the great tourist attractions and introduced me to their friends as well as several great shops and restaurants.

Being so close to Madrid, my friends and I were able to travel into the capital as well as several small towns and cities around very easily.  We would travel into Madrid most weekends to visit different monuments and the Retiro Park, the palace, some art galleries and museums and the Rastro (a huge shopping market that takes up the streets of Madrid every morning).  During my year abroad I was able to see so many of the historical elements of the city as well as engage in fun activities like going to see the local football team, Atletico Madrid play in an important league match and row boats with my friends on the lake at the Retiro Park.

Though I’m glad I agreed to study so far from home, the distance was difficult.  Being without my family for so long was hard at times especially close to Christmas and birthdays but fortunately I was able to live with two of my fellow students from my home institution for the duration of my stay in Spain and this comfortable living situation made being so far from home, attending a new university and tackling challenging classes and a language we were not yet fluent in, much easier.

This year was challenging and fun and I am extremely glad that I was able to tackle it and successfully complete it because I feel it has improved my confidence significantly, especially my confidence in my spoken Spanish.

I have recently completed my fourth and final year at Manchester Metropolitan University studying both English Literature and Spanish, graduating with a First Class Honours in BA English Literature with Spanish. Preferring the English module choices, this year I decided to major in English Literature, choosing to undertake and explore new film modules in addition to other literature modules whilst minoring in Spanish to focus on and develop my language and communication skills.  I thoroughly enjoyed this, because I feel I learned a lot, developed a lot more skills and was able to explore new areas and concepts.

This year was very difficult both academically and personally. Due to my mother’s ill health I was required at home to help care for her and therefore, my attendance, concentration and overall commitment to my course, exams, assignments and university life were affected. Fortunately the university were very understanding and helpful, offering guidance and support by way of extensions, updates and discussions about classes and work via email correspondence and therapy sessions, to support me academically and personally. This was particularly beneficial to my dissertation. As a final year student I was required to produce a ten thousand word dissertation on a topic of my choosing. Initially, I struggled to find a focus, flirting with several ideas and approaches and spending a lot of time researching, reading and studying different texts and theories before deciding to explore representations of intersexuality as a means of challenging heteronormativity. As this concept was originally alien to me, and as something I had not yet discovered and that is rarely represented in the media, this was very challenging but also very interesting to study and write about. Though very rewarding, this task was also extremely challenging from the beginning. As a predominantly independent element of the course, I had to manage my time around my university and personal life to allocate enough time to the dissertation research and writing processes. As an independent project, it was easier to work less on the dissertation to afford me more time to do the duties at home and work for the more pressing deadlines. Though this impacted my project and the contact time with those who could assist me, I was able to work with staff via email correspondence to refine my ideas, develop my thesis, and produce a well-developed, well-written and insightful discussion. Overall, though I faced a number of obstacles during this long difficult process, with the help and support of my advisors and family, I was fortunately able to successfully manage and organise myself and time efficiently to prepare and do all the work required to a high standard, including my dissertation, which I proudly achieved a high First Class Honours for.

Due to my personal circumstances I could not commit or contribute to university life as much as I intended or hoped. However, I am proud to say that I was able to get involved in some activities. In addition to continuing my role as student ambassador, participating in open days and language and literature events for children and young people, I was also an active member of the Languages, Linguistics and TSOL society. Liaising and working with staff and students, I helped create and organise and also attend several events and workshops to help integrate new Erasmus and international students into the university and city. This enjoyable experience allowed me to meet new people, explore the city in new ways on fun tours and orienteering days, whilst developing and practicing language skills. Though I was unable to attend all of the events, I was able to continue to support my peers in organising and managing events by corresponding with them through email and social media, where we shared ideas.  I also helped manage the social media pages to advertise events. Though it was often difficult to manage my time and juggle my other commitments, I am pleased I participated and continued to play a role in this community and group because I was able to develop several skills, learn new things and make lots of new friends.

It has been a difficult and trying four years but I am so glad that I chose to study at university and I am so proud of myself for continuing with my studies and working hard to achieve the grades I did. Though I did miss my family terribly at times, I am so glad I decided to study away from home and chose to study abroad for a year and live independently. Over the course of my degree, I have learned so much both academically and personally. I have had the opportunity to experience so many different things that will benefit me significantly in my future life and careers and this is partly thanks to the generous support The John Moran Educational Trust gave me. I am and will be forever grateful to the John Moran Educational Trust for helping me and supporting me through university, both with the financial aid they provided and with the continuous emotional support and pastoral care they offered. Their email correspondence has been so beneficial to me and I am so thankful for their encouragement, support and generosity. Thank you for being there for me and helping to keep me motivated.

Since finishing university I have found a job working in administration in the NHS. Though this job can be very difficult and stressful, it is extremely rewarding. I continue to learn new things and develop my skills every day.  I am considering returning to further education with a view to pursuing a career in teaching but at the moment I am happy contributing and helping where I am, whilst exploring my options.