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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Nicola Sheard BSc Occupational Therapy 2017

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Hi, I am Nicola Sheard and currently studying BSc Occupational Therapy

"I really liked the sound of the course, with all the exciting and varying opportunities it offered. Being a Russel group, I knew Southampton had a good reputation, particularly as a health sciences faculty"

What made you choose to come and study at Southampton?

I really liked the sounds of the course, with all the exciting and varying opportunities it offered. Being a Russel group, I knew Southampton had a good reputation, particularly as a health sciences faculty.

What were you anxious about before coming to Southampton, and once here were these fears overcome?

I was nervous, but was also excited to start the course and to meet lots of new people! The lecturers were good at reassuring us when we would be confused or panicking about something.

I joined the Christian union early on, and they were a huge support for me, and still are.

What is it like studying here?

The large content hours at the beginning of the course meant it was very difficult to keep a good work-life balance, particularly with the huge amount of content behind the health science module. The lecturers are all very supportive and understanding. It is particularly helpful to have a tutor to support and encourage you. I feel very safe around campus. 

How do you rate study facilities at the University, such as the Library?

At the beginning of 1st year, I didn’t really use the library at all, but now I use it all the time, and access to these resources have really helped to increase my grades.

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

I have many highlights from the course; animal workshops, visit to Hillier Gardens, seed bomb workshops and a harp therapy session. Our group projects, although haven’t always been easy, have been really exciting and I have learnt a lot through them. I am involved in the Christian Union and I am passionate about what we do as a society.

What other activities have you taken advantage of while at University?

As part of a group project, I attended Southampton city council’s winter conference which was a great opportunity to get alongside the locals and to promote occupational therapy. We are also doing a lecture at a local school where we are promoting occupational therapy to the children.

Have you had any exposure to employer involvement or research-led learning during your course?

Our lecturers have talked about their research and what that entailed which has been really interesting. As part of our course, we carry out a research project. My project has involved working with date collected by Macmillan Cancer Support who are working with the university. I have just started this, but am learning a lot about the process of carrying out research.

What are you enjoying most about your course?

The group projects that are offered which allow us to experience and learn things we could never learn sitting in a lecture theatre.

What networking, employment and work experience opportunities have you undertaken and how have they enhanced your undergraduate experience?

A couple of the group projects have involved working alongside other charities and services such as Headway and Southampton City Council. I learnt a huge amount in my placement in first year; it really helped me to put all the theory I had learnt into practice.

Do you have any idea of what you would like to do in the future? Have the opportunities you have taken up while at the University helped you have a clearer idea of what you might like to do?

The course has confirmed and grown my passion to be an occupational therapist, but I don’t know what area yet. I think, I will get more of an idea, as I go on more placements and experience more areas that occupational therapists work in.

Did you stay in University accommodation? 

In first year I stayed in Glen Eyre halls. I really enjoyed the experience and made loads of friends. I live with my flat mate from first year.

Do you like living in Southampton?

Yes, I really like Southampton. I love being so near to the new forest and the coast. Although, there is not a huge amount to that is not accessible by car. Most of the time, I feel safe in the city.


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