Blog: Caitlin, BA (Hons) Child and Youth Studies student

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Did you know that Caitlin, our 3rd year BA (Hons) Child and Youth Studies student, is a Guinness World Record holder? Hear more about her story and how she found her dream job whilst studying online with us.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi! My name is Caitlin and I am currently a 3rd year student on the BA (Hons) Child and Youth Studies degree at Moray College UHI. I have always had a clear idea of wanting to be in the Childcare and Education sector all my life. How I got there was definitely a journey. I didn’t get the Highers I wanted in high school, so I moved to Elgin to achieve my HNC Social Sciences to then move onto a degree in Psychology with the aim of progressing onto the PDGE Primary Education. Instead, I ended up advancing from the HNC Childhood Practice into the 2nd year of the Child and Youth Studies degree within UHI.

Why did you choose to study at Moray College UHI?

I originally went to study Psychology at a university in Edinburgh but quickly discovered I wanted to work and study at the same time, plus I missed Moray. The University of the Highlands and Islands provided me with the opportunity to do so as I could study around my other commitments due to the course being fully online and flexible.

How did you find the transition to online study?

Working online can have its challenges but the course has fantastic lecturers who support you to overcome them and will clarify aspects of modules when you need it. The transition was difficult at first to go from classes with people to online with no interaction but the HNC had prepared me for the level of work required. Once I began to set time for work and for study and really interacted with the discussion boards the transition was a lot easier.

What were the highlights of studying at Moray College UHI?

The course being flexible around me and the lecturer’s being able to advise me not only on my course, but by them being experts in their field, being able to advise me on my career too. The degree also supported me in gaining job opportunities with having in-depth knowledge in the sector of Childcare and Education.

Where would you like to go with your career in the future?

Whilst in 3rd year of the BA (Hons) Child and Youth Studies degree I got my dream job as a Senior Early Years Practitioner and decided that I wanted to continue with Early Years. Why leave a job that you love? So, I applied for the BA (Hons) Childhood Practice degree within UHI to continue my love of the Early Years which will allow me to progress within Early Learning and Childcare. It is such an exciting time to be involved with expansion of ELC.  However, as the UHI is flexible and supportive if I decide in years to come, I want to continue that old dream of becoming a Primary Teacher then UHI will enable me to do so.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Spending time with family and friends, doing craft projects and curling up with a good cuppa tea, my cat and a book! 

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I’m a Guinness World Record holder; I was part of the largest number of people dressed as Peter Pan. The author of Peter Pan, J M Barrie, was born in my hometown Kirriemuir, where during the 2017 Cancer Research UK Relay for Life 534 participants dressed as Peter Pan to join the relay! This can be seen in Guinness World Records 2019! 

What is your favourite food or meal?

It has to be my granny's homemade chicken lasagne! Every time she comes to visit or I go see her she sends one (and sometimes another one for the freezer).

What advice would you give to those considering studying at Moray College UHI?

Studying online can be a challenge but has a wide range of benefits. The biggest bit of advice I’d give is to know you are not alone even if you are studying alone. Use the support of your classmates and always contact your PAT’s for support. I have had some amazing PAT’s who have supported me through so much, I can’t thank them enough.

What is the best advice you ever received, and who was it from?

The best piece of advice has come from my mum, when she said it the first time I didn't believe her. She said "What's for you, won't go by you." I didn't get into university and I was heart broken, but I wouldn't have changed my journey to where I am now for the world and I strongly stand by her words now.

When I am in doubt, or having a hard time she also says to me "You are Caitlin Whatley...and you got this!" It's often the motivational boost that I need.

I also try to live by my dads words "Don't stress over small stuff you can't change" which has helped me remain calm in the days of waiting for my assessment results!

We have been delivering a personalised learning experience for over 20 years allowing our students to study a range of courses online to fit around other commitments. Whether you are leaving school, returning to education or looking for a career change, start your journey this September with BA (Hons) Child and Youth Studies. If you are already in employment you can also study our BA (Hons) Childhood Practice online.

Find your future here!