Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School

Jessica Paternoster BSc (Hons) Education with a minor in Anthropology

Jessica Paternoster's Photo

Hi, I'm Jessica Paternoster and I am studying BSc (Hons) Education with a minor in Anthropology.

I initially applied to the University of Southampton due to it being a member of the prestigious Russell Group universities. Adding to its appeal was how green the city of Southampton is, as well as this being very student centered.

Why did you choose to come and study at Southampton?

I initially applied to the University of Southampton due to it being a member of the prestigious Russell Group universities. Adding to its appeal was how green the city of Southampton is, as well as this being very student centered.

What were you anxious about before coming to Southampton?

There were several factors that I was anxious about prior to moving to university, but I knew it was not uncommon to feel that way. These included aspects such as moving away from home for the first time, adjusting to completing assessments at university level and making new friends. But, I was reassured knowing others had similar concerns, and that everyone starting was on a similar journey together.

Once at Southampton, how were your fears overcome?

I believe a key way to overcome your own fears is to stay true to who you are. Know your own limits and be confident in being yourself. It seems so simple, but this really helped me to embrace opportunities and develop confidence at University. There is also so much support offered at the University so if fears persist there are always people to talk to, covering wellbeing and academic support. Lastly, it is so important to recognise some things take time to improve and that finding the best way to study, balancing work-life demands and making friends for example takes time and these don’t all happen instantaneously. First year really does enable you to refine these elements.

What is it like studying here?

The studying experience ultimately varies for everyone. Due to being a Russell Group university the lecturers are experts in their field which really does show as lectures are very engaging and interesting. The Education course itself is very broad, with modules being very wide-ranging. There are also opportunities to complete a minor alongside my major degree (which I have chosen to do) and to choose optional modules from outside the discipline of Education. Studying in the city of Southampton is great too, as due to there being 2 universities in the city; there is a strong student community feel to it.

How do you rate study facilities at the University?

The study facilities at the University are excellent. There are many study spaces students can use, and Education students are not redistricted to those only in the Education buildings which enables flexibility when studying. The ‘Hartley Library’ is located on Highfield Campus, which has numerous floors with different rules (e.g. can/cannot talk, can/cannot eat etc.) which can help meet students different studying needs/preferences. There are also study spaces at Avenue Campus which is a short walk from Highfield which opens up even more choice. These are only a few facilitates available, so bear in mind there are many more to discover and/or choose.

What have been your Southampton ‘highlights’ (best experiences) so far?

When reflecting on my ‘highlights’ of my experience here, the main aspect I identify is how I have developed holistically. When reflecting upon whom I am now to who I was when I started, I will forever be thankful for my university experience. More specifically, I have been nominated 2 years in a row for an Academic Award, and won this in 2018. I won the ‘Faculty Academic Representative Award’, which was through the role of being a course representative in my first year. This then inspired me to become the Education School President. Never did I think I would have the confidence to fulfil such a role, and now I have been re-elected as this for my final year, which is still very surreal.

How has your time at Southampton helped you to grow as a person?

This is hard to answer as I have grown in so many ways. I have learnt a lot about myself, and have developed as a result of this. I have definitely become more aware of whom I am as a person, which I believe will continue to develop throughout my time here. From first year to now, I can identify improvements in my academic ability, but also my ability to ask for help academically with my growing confidence. The development of these skills are not only fantastic to acknowledge, but reassure me that this process can continue after university, to personally and professionally develop.

What are you enjoying most about your course?

One of the things I enjoy most about my course is the variety and flexibility it provides. I realised I do not want to specialise into teaching afterwards which some may have chosen ‘Education’ to do, and even with this realisation this degree still provides me with so many opportunities. The support provided on this course from lecturers and Personal Academic Tutors (which every student is assigned in first year) is brilliant, inspiring me with so many different pathways I can pursue after university. I am looking forward to the future, and it wouldn’t be so without the wide-ranging modules and opportunities encompassed within the course. Lastly, I have chosen to pursue a minor in Anthropology alongside my major in Education which has been fantastic. From not knowing what this was, to becoming immersed in readings, I have been able to discover a love for a new discipline which may not have occurred if I didn’t choose this course at Southampton.

Do you have the opportunity to study modules outside of your core subject area?

Due to doing a minor in Anthropology, all of my optional modules have been within this discipline. Whilst completing these, I have been able to make connections to my major field of study which has facilitated the idea of combining the 2 for my final year dissertation which is very exciting.

Did you or do you stay in University accommodation?

During my first year I was in University Halls of Residences. Flats within these are a brilliant way to make new friends, and to share similar experiences with everyone. There is residency support available if this is needed by anyone, and a night line, enabling a 24-hour support service. It is very important not to worry about reaching out for help if this is necessary, as this shows a sign of strength, not weakness. Settling into halls takes a different amount of time for everyone, some people this may be hours for other it may be months. It is so easy to compare yourself to others, but be mindful that we all come from different areas/backgrounds/family dynamics etc. and so the process of moving is different for all, albeit feel very similar.

What is the city of Southampton like to live in?

I am forever discovering new parts of the city, which is a great aspect of Southampton. If you live in University Halls, you are provided with a bus pass. My advice would be to exploit this and really discover what is around.  I have completed the Southampton Half Marathon which enabled me to see so much of the city I had not previously known about, and it brings a real sense of community to the city centre. If that isn’t for you, there are a wide variety of clubs and pubs to fulfil any night life needs, a shopping centre and many different pop-up events that occur throughout the year- such as the festival of lights and a maze! Just keep open to what is around, for me I have fallen in love with the common and spent a lot of time exploring different paths, and watching the sunset. If you keep your options open, there is so much to discover.

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings