Last year, before starting at Oxbridge, Aaliyah was studying at college.
“I completed A-level English Language and a Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Public Services.
“I first came across Oxbridge after I finished my A-levels, while taking a gap year due to COVID.”
Aaliyah’s friends describe her as determined and caring. Given her previous career route, this is not surprising.
“I’ve had a couple of different jobs but I’d say my favourite so far has been working as a Care Assistant,” explains Aaliyah.
“Although the job was a big responsibility, I loved how rewarding it was to care for others and connect with so many unique people with such different stories.”
Furthering her Future
“Whilst taking a gap year, I thought it would be beneficial to further my studies and gain more UCAS points.
“My Aunty recommended a series of home learning sites and I came across Oxbridge. I was immediately impressed with the range of courses available at different levels.
“I ended up enrolling in A-level Sociology, as it’s a subject I had always wanted to study. The fact that there was the option to do the subject I have wanted to for so long as well as fast track courses in a year fitted perfectly with my gap year plan.”
An Established Study Method
“I would always log in to the site and ensure I did just over the equivalent hours of a regular college day. Every time I logged on, the first thing I would do was check my emails to see if I’d received any replies from my tutors to the questions I’d asked, or feedback from my work.
Aaliyah studied both GCSE Maths and A-level Sociology with Oxbridge. So, we ensured she had access to a dedicated tutor for each of her chosen subjects.
“I was frequently contacting my tutors to ask questions and ensure I understood. They were always so helpful.
“I’d use their feedback to edit any work and further my understanding, based on their answers to any questions I asked.
“If there was something I didn’t understand, I wrote down the question to ask my tutors and emailed them at the end of my session.
“Sometimes I’d also take time to research certain topics if I didn’t feel fully confident in them or if I found one topic particularly interesting.”
Aaliyah is very passionate about studying Sociology, but like most people she still finds some subject areas more enjoyable than others.
“I loved the Families and Households unit, the Education unit and the Crime and Deviance unit!
“I think I enjoyed the Families and Households unit so much because I felt it was really relevant, as it explored the changing nature of families in both pre-modern and modern society. I find this so interesting, as we live in such a diverse society today.
“I really liked the Crime and Deviance unit, and it was similar to something I’d studied in my Public Services course, which I really enjoyed then too! I love learning about the effects of different aspects of society, and the Crime and Deviance unit really incorporated some interesting and controversial topics. It made me question my own thoughts and beliefs, which I loved.”
The Bigger Picture
“In my opinion Sociology doesn't just equip you with a series of facts you have to memorise, but instead helps you look at the bigger picture and why things are the way they are today.
“For example, in the Education unit, when discussing gender, I learned about the impact of stereotypes and how men and women were prevented from studying certain subjects. To some degree, this is something we can still see the effect of today in schools, as less men tend to take subjects like health and social care, whilst less women tend to study courses related to maths and science.”
“I had a lot of teachers previously doubt me, telling me that I wouldn’t achieve certain things.”
Aaliyah found her own way to deal with this and remained determined. She stayed focused on her goals, especially since enrolling at Oxbridge and living on her own for the first time.
“I put all my time and effort into my courses, so I was always emailing my tutors asking for feedback, working through my courses, editing essays and work, doing additional research and learning outside of my courses.
“I used learning as a positive distraction, as it gave me a sense of control and confidence from the feedback I was getting from my tutors. My greatest motivation became the fear of not using my potential. I wanted to make younger Aaliyah proud, despite the obstacles and circumstances that had taken place. I knew I was the only one who could make the decision to overcome them and ensure I achieved the personal goals I set for myself. I could either cry about it or put that energy into making sure I end up where I want to be.”
Support Along the Way
“My personal tutor has supported me throughout my learning journey by marking my work and allowing me the option to resubmit work, which lets me analyse my work better.
“Both my personal tutors have also been really helpful in letting me know the grades I am currently working at and have improved my confidence in both subjects. They acknowledge my efforts but have also been honest in marking and told me how to improve, which enabled me to track my progress better.
“As an eager learner, I appreciated having tutors that were always open to answering questions I had if I wanted further clarification on a topic. They also seemed very passionate about their subjects. They always answered my questions and emails quickly.”
The Next Step
“I would like to go to university. This has always been a goal of mine, although I am still finalising what I would like to study. It will likely be something in the sociology field such as sociology, law or human rights, or perhaps music marketing. We’ll see what happens.”
Advice for Others
“For A-level Sociology, the best advice I would give someone else taking my course would be to be prepared to question everything! Sociology gives you a real insight into different elements of society and how everything is connected.
“I did a lot of additional work and reading outside of the course to familiarise myself with the content, as I started this course with no prior study or knowledge of Sociology. I found this very helpful.
“Most of all I’d say don’t let anyone doubt you. Stay focused, motivated and patient, and you can do whatever you put your mind to. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can achieve. Show them!”
Are you looking to upskill like Aaliyah? Give our learning advisers a call on 0121 630 3000 to find out more about our courses.