Holly Cockerham’s inspiring words to new Foundation Year students in the Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education

On Tuesday 19th September, an uplifting celebration event for Hull’s Foundation Year students from all subject areas in the Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education (FACE), took place in the Derwent Café. The event was attended mainly by students who completed Foundation Year in 2016-17 together with the new students starting in 2017-18. The Faculty’s Associate Deans for Education and Student Experience, Darren Mundy and Ally Dunhill were both there cheering enthusiastically all of the 2016-17 students’ success, especially the prize-winners, along with S-HLC Student Engagement Officer Holly Ilett.

As part of the evening’s celebration, it was History undergraduate Holly Cockerham who gave a short talk and three important tips for success to the new Foundation Year students, many of whom are pictured below.

Holly Cockerham’s speech brought loud applause from all, and broad smiles of pride to the faces of Alison Price-Moir and Helen Fenwick, the S-HLC Co-Director of Student Experience and School Academic Manager respectively. The Head of School, Chris Harris, was also there. He was so impressed by Holly’s confident, engaging delivery, and her inspiring address, that he asked her for permission to share it. So Holly’s words to Foundation Year students are here:

“I’m Holly, I study History, and I am currently starting the second year of my full degree. I started my foundation degree in 2015 after failing my A-Levels. I realised that I wouldn’t be able to get a place at university with my results and I was heartbroken. I called Hull Uni in the hopes of somehow being able to get through clearing with my grades and get onto the course that I wanted. It was over the phone that I was told of the foundation programme and that I would qualify to get onto it. I signed up without hesitation.

I was afraid that I was setting myself up for failure again – after all if I’d failed my A-Levels, surely I wasn’t cut out for Uni. Or so I thought. The foundation year gave me all the skills that I lacked at college and really did prepare me for when I started my degree. I went into the first year of my degree knowing exactly what to expect: how the marking systems work, how the library works, what things on the timetable mean, where things are on campus, and I already had a relationship with my lecturers because I had worked with them before. I knew how long it took me to do certain pieces of work, and where my strengths lie, and what I needed to take longer to complete to a high standard.


Holly Cockerham addressing the new Foundation Year students

I made some really good friends on the foundation programme, and I’ve stuck with them throughout my degree so far. I’ve found that I’ve created working relationships that are really effective, so if I have to do group work with these people it often gets done really quickly because we have that extra year of work under our belt. When you’re working with first years when you go onto your full degree you will realise just how efficient you have become, and how familiar you are with certain academic processes. This year of course, there will be a mentoring scheme, which we didn’t have when I joined. I would encourage you to sign up – I have! I’ll be a mentor. Basically, a mentor will help you settle into university life, and the community around campus. I think this will really benefit new students, and I wish that my year had had something like that.

To wrap this up, I’ll end by giving you three pieces of advice:

1) Dont be afraid to ask for help, there are plenty of people who can help you with everything from academic issues – find them in the library – to mental health problems and money issues – find them through the AskHU desk in Student House. So if something is bothering you, go ask.

2) Dont try and tackle everything at once. If you have a few assignments due on the same date, don’t try and do them all in one. Manage your time wisely and do them bit by bit – this really will help with managing stress!

3) Have a fantastic year! This is your first year at Uni, take full advantage of it! If there is a sport you’ve always wanted to try, or a society you want to join – do it! This year is a great time to immerse yourself in your work and also extracurricular activities.”



What are your thoughts?