I was a student at a college called Queen Alexandra College (QAC) 10 years ago, between the years of September 2006 – July 2010. I did BTEC Art and Design course for 4 years. I began on first diploma and then went onto national certificate which i completed – just about. I was a day student to begin with. college days ended at 4.45pm except Friday which ended at 3pm, they were long days especially living on the other side of Birmingham I normally was the last one to be dropped home on the evening.
My first 2 years were happy I made friends who I still speak to such as Fatemah who was on the same course as me (I’ve now been friends with her nearly 14 years and still see her) and I had a lovely tutor Hazel which helped who I have met up with Fatemah since college in the last couple of years. I was very quiet and struggled with my confidence. I even had a couple of boyfriends during my time at QAC there is 1 i had which ended very badly in 2008 and college had to get involved and then he left. I would never have attempted to have a boyfriend before QAC.
I remember my first day at college I was amazed at how nice everyone was (I was bullied a lot at school) and I remember my first art project I did which was with the IKON gallery in Birmingham. We all had our work put in a gallery at the IKON gallery at the end of my first term in 2006, it had the theme of Birmingham the project did.
We also did a project asking a tutor questions about the college and their time there which I found extremely difficult as we had to do it infront of the whole college and it was recorded.
I had counselling during college hours with a lovely lady and psychology for a short while. I also had extra personal tutor session in my 3rd and final year. Hazel left during my 2nd year and we had a new tutor called Ben for a short time and then Kanchan.
I wanted to become a residential student after my first 2 years which is now my biggest regret. I wanted to learn independence and get social skills and make new friends. It made me homesick and I hated residential in general it was to busy/crowded and I suffer from sensory issues so the noise was a big deal for me. I tried 2 residential places on campus. I felt isolated, very lonely and I felt the staff didn’t like me. I began to self-harm with anything, and then I was put on anti-depressants a month or 2 later I then attempted an overdose I felt suicidal a lot of the time. It affected me at college during the day. I went back to being a day student it was the colleges and my parents decision. I was happy with the decision.
I still self-harmed as a day student. I just did it at home. I had friends at college mainly Joannah who I met whilst residential if it wasn’t for her I would of quit college. I didn’t attend some days because my mental health got severe. I began to starve myself and got down to 7 stone which was very underweight for my height.
I had counselling twice a week and all the college staff involved with me met up with psychiatry and my community nurse on a few occasions.
I attended discos and other social events at college.
My funding came to an end in 2010 and it was decided I would go to another college to do a course and the transitions at qac helped me get to know the tutor before i started. It was at Sutton Coldfield college, it was closer to home.
I did pass a lot of subjects and got qualifications such as art qualifications, literacy, maths, I.t and work skills, its a shame I suffered badly with mental health and less than a year later after leaving QAC I was sectioned under the mental health act, or i could of completed BTEC Art and Design national diploma at QAC or gone onto another college to do it or even gained employment. I am 30 now and too old to do the art course at my local college.
In 2008/2008 sports days were introduced, enrichment sessions and other college events such as the summer fete and fairs i think.