Shaun Watling Shaun Watling




BSc Natural Sciences


Access course

How did you find it settling in to University life as a mature student?
Pretty easy. I had attended a mature student open day previously which had prepared me well. They explained the workload expectations as well as the support from people like the Dean of Students.

Please could you tell us why you chose to study at UEA?
I liked the course and the flexibility that Natural Sciences offers. I can pick and choose the modules that interest me most, as opposed to a conventional degree stream where I am limited to set subjects.

I also like the fact that UEA had made specific provisions for the application of mature students. Returning to study was a bit daunting as I was desperate not to fail. The provisions put in place gave me every opportunity to reach my potential.

Could you tell us what you particularly enjoy about your course?
Because I have the flexibility to choose my own modules, I can find myself in a chemistry lab one day, and the next day I have almost free for independent study. I love the fact that I am studying exactly what I have chosen. When I graduate nobody will have exactly the same degree, which is great when searching for employment. My tutors support me all the way with lectures, self study, motivation and module choice. I couldn't ask for more.

Thinking back to when you first arrived at the University, how easy or difficult did you find it?
I think the biggest hurdle I had to overcome was that I felt inferior to younger students who have come fresh from A Levels. I felt that they were more prepared and that I didn't have the capacity to equal their results. My academic advisor helped me address these concerns and highlighted areas of knowledge where I could improve. They also reminded me that the life experience I had gained was a valuable skill/experience that I possessed which a lot of younger students did not.

Please could you tell us about any extra-curricular activities you have participated in on or off campus, including any UEA societies?
I currently play football at UEA a couple of times per week. I also train in Chinese martial arts up to three times per week. I am an active member of the Institute of Physics in my spare time.

I currently tutor in physics at City Academy Norwich under UEA's Student Tutor Ambassador Programme.

Please could you tell us about your career plans or goals for the future.
I am hoping to finish my degree and then undertake a PGCE at UEA in physics secondary education, as I would like to inspire future students in my area of interest.

Have you taken advantage of the careers service at UEA?
I have met with the Careers Office and consulted them about improving my chances of being accepted to the PGCE. They explained that the student ambassador tutoring position is good preparation, as well as gaining some experience observing in a secondary school. I have been successful in both these positions and enjoy passing my knowledge on as a tutor.