In June 2010 I enrolled to start an engineering degree in the second semester. I was fortunate enough to be able to join IYMP and reside in IYMP accommodation which is just near the university. The tariff price was low and included our room, food, power, water and broadband internet. In the accommodation we were encouraged and supported to do our own cooking and cleaning but groceries were bought for us and delivered to our house by one of the friendly residential workers. The houses were fully furnished and set up to make studying easier.
My first semester was a good mix of study, chilling with the housemates and newly found university friends and playing football on the weekends. At first it was hard to adapt to the level of reading and self-motivated study that university required. All the members of my house were in their first year of study and towards the end of the year I could tell the workload was starting to wear them down.
During the first semester I was concerned about my finances as I was not yet receiving any form of assistance and relying on funds I had saved before I started my study. IYMP offered me part time work to help me pay my way. The work hours were very flexible which was good when I had assignments and course readings that needed completing.
Throughout the year IYMP offered the students an array of educational and motivational events. Guest speakers and seminars were made available for the students to learn about healthy eating practices, drug and alcohol awareness and other educational topics. Gym memberships and driving lessons were also organised and subsidised by IYMP which also added to the quality of life of the students.
IYMP also held fortnightly meetings where students and IYMP staff could meet and discuss how their studies were progressing. This would help to ensure that students who were struggling would get assistance where needed.
At the end of each semester, a celebratory dinner would be held to acknowledge the students achievements and the progression of their studies. Certificates and awards were handed out which kept us motivated and to build a feeling of communal growth, where we could all support and motivate each other. Once a year during the semester break, the IYMP staff would offer up a leadership camp for the students. The leadership camp was free for the students which meant that any of the students were able to take part and enjoy a well-earned rest from the books.
After around 2 years living in the IYMP accommodation I felt it was time I went independent and moved out to live with a group of my fellow students. Even though I was no longer living in IYMP accommodation, staff still kept tabs on my study and living situation and were always checking in offering support and assistance.
At the end of 2014 I completed the last of my courses and so completed my degree. IYMP offered me a scholarship to acknowledge the completion of my degree and also to help support me in in my next course of action. As the 4 year engineering course holds more weight than the 3 year course and offers better employment options, I have decided to use the scholarship money to return to university study and complete the 4 year course. Were it not for the help and support of the IYMP and their dedicated staff, getting this far would have been far less enjoyable and far more difficult.