Celebration Week

Here is the latest post from Taylor Cornes, a first year primary student at the University of Worcester.

It is that time of the year when all of my deadlines have suddenly crept up on me, and I am tying all the strings together and finishing my final assessments and assignments as each module draws to a close.

However, the University of Worcester puts on a Celebration Week every year consisting of various balls and awards events for first, second and third year students, which seems to alleviate the pressure and stress felt by the students (at least for a few days).

The first celebration event that I attended was the Worcester Award Presentation Evening, held at the University Arena – which has recently won a prestigious Guardian University Award, being announced as the winner of the ‘Buildings that Inspire’ category. The event took place on the upper floor of the Arena and the views from the large windows were absolutely stunning. Overall, I had a wonderful evening and it was brilliant watching everyone accept their awards and listening to the different speakers who all had a perspective on what the Worcester Award means to employers and how it can enhance a graduate’s CV and job interviews. I only applied for the standard Worcester Award this year, which consisted of 40 hours minimum of work experience (I used my placement hours), 20 hours minimum of skills and development activities (I used my hours from my Signalong course, Brownies and StAR volunteering opportunities), and an employability activity where I attended a one-to-one CV workshop. Next year I plan on completing the Worcester Award+ which involves some more workshops and a Worcester Award Interview. Now, you might be wondering why I didn’t do the Worcester Award+ this year, and in short, my answer would be that I must leave opportunities to seize for the next academic year else I will have too much free time!

The second celebration event that I attended was the Volunteering and Society Awards (VoScAs). This celebration event was held at the Worcester Racecourse and was an unquestionably superb evening, celebrating the successes of those who volunteer for various companies and organisations. It really did open my eyes to the fantastic work that goes on in the University by these extraordinary students – and more often than not, they really do not get the recognition that they deserve. The first award that I received was my Gold StAR Accreditation Award (I outlined the role of a StAR in my previous post), and for this I had to attend a variety of meetings – including a Course Management Committee Meeting – write a short statement on what I have done as a StAR, and deliver a presentation to a panel on how the role of the StAR can be developed and strengthened (a walk in the park, right?). At the time, it seemed like a lot of work, but this is something that will be put on my degree transcript and could hopefully work to my advantage when applying for teaching jobs. The second award that I received was a complete surprise and shock to me. An award for ‘StAR of the Year’ in each Institute was up for grabs, and I wasn’t even aware that I was shortlisted for the award, but to my amazement I was awarded StAR of the Year 2015 for the Institute of Education. I was completely speechless as I walked up to collect the award and had to hold back the tears. I was sure that a second or even third year student would get the award as they have been at the University longer and have therefore contributed more, but it was overwhelming to know that the hours I have put in as a StAR had been recognised by the Institute of Education Representatives, hence why I was given the award. The Institute of Education is made up of many courses, not just the Primary Teaching course I am on, so it is a huge honour to have been given the award. The final award that I collected at the VoScAs was the 50 Hour Achievement in Volunteering award. As a StAR, Brownie volunteer and helper at a local primary school, I have been able to log my hours online and there are awards for 20, 50, 100, 200 and even 500 hours! In my next years of study I will strive to at least double my current total of 79 hours of volunteering. On a side note, I do know someone who was given the 500 Hour Award, my friend Helen from the second year of the Primary Initial Teacher Education Course, and this would be my ultimate volunteering goal!

The events that I attended in Celebration Week were incredible, and I look forward to attending many more in my future years at the University of Worcester!
Taylor Cornes

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