Deborah is a Level 4 Education student. She lives in a shared flat and occasionally returns to her parents’ home where she has “enough space to work”. Travelling on the train home she’ll try to use the time efficiently for writing notes when a deadline is approaching as “added pressure sometimes makes me work better”, preferring to write notes rather than essays as “background noise can be quite distracting” and “doing an essay might be tricky”. The amount of space is important to her – when working on assignments, for example, she likes to “spread…books and notes out so I can see them all and have access quickly” and prefers desks that are not fully enclosed. She also prefers “big spaces so as not to feel enclosed and trapped by my work” – the current design of some personal study spaces in the Learning Centre are restrictive as she can only have a few books on the desk. She enjoys using the Learning Centre as it is quieter than her flat – however, she does find it “really spooky” or “a bit scary” when she has to go there alone as there are not many people around. When the Learning Centre is busy she has problems finding computer space so will take her own laptop with her.
If she has some work to do at her flat, Deborah will “get up earlier…it is quieter as no-one is up” or will work later when “most people are out or asleep”. When she isn’t distracted by the mess at her flat she feels that it is effective as it’s “your own space…can spread out…you don’t have to go anywhere”. However, at home the internet can be a “distraction…I do not check eg facebook in the library”. As deadlines approach if Deborah is working at home she will unplug the connection to remove the distraction (eg, “I am now sat in my room. Have locked the door and removed internet connection. Need to do this essay.”; and, 1 day later, “I am still in my room doing this essay…now sat on my bed without the internet cable to distract me!”).
Deborah is currently doing her placement, so is not currently attending lectures. Occasional drop-in sessions are planned, but she has been unable to attend any so far as the dates keep changing – she thinks that “if more workshops were given throughout the term in relation to different areas of our placement” that this could be useful; however, reflecting on placement lectures earlier in the semester she says “the spaces we were given were awful to be taught in as the rooms were really small and we were put in lecture rooms to do group work”.
She does attend tutorials in the new Arundel building: the space means that “I am not cramped and squashed up as I sometimes feel rather confined when I am studying in my room”. Her course is based in the same building which she feels is beneficial because “I am usually with my peers…with this support, I feel better and more confident about doing my work”.