‘Harper has prepared me for the big wide world’

I’m in my final year at Harper Adams University College, studying Veterinary Nursing and it will be all too soon before I have to leave. However, I know that when the time comes Harper has prepared me for the “big wide world”.

This is especially due to the inclusion of a year out on placement during the third year of a majority of the the degree courses at Harper. It allows you to develop as an individual and gain both confidence and knowledge in your area of study, in addition to providing you with the chance to form invaluable contacts. I’ve always been told its “not always what you know, it’s who you know”, and both the staff and the people you encounter on placement have a large amount of contacts they can put you in touch with.

The courses at Harper are all a balanced mixture of practical and theory, which allows you to use your knowledge and apply it in a practical manner, as you will in any future career in the agricultural sector. Harper is constantly planning and developing the site. This yearthe Faccenda Student Union building was built with an accompanying shop and cafe. The library is also relatively new and was refurbished throughout only this year. Furthermore, Harper’s on-site farm is a precious commodity for students, providing experience with arable, machinery and a wealth of livestock. Many students also conduct their final year dissertation on the farm, which is ideal as the farm staff and lecturers are highly knowledgable about the farm and experienced in carrying out such studies, therefore providing unrivalled support.

The staff at Harper are all really approachable and friendly and will go out of their way to support you. Furthermore, compared to other much larger universities, they know you by name. This means that they know where your individual strengths and weaknesses lie and can help you accordingly. They also have an accompanying sense of humour, which is a requirement at an agricultural college!

The social life at Harper is indescribable. It ranges from what you would normally expect at a university to the totally bizarre! I shall never forget my Freshers’ week, what with events such as the “Freshers’ Challenge”! There is never a time to be bored, as there is always something going on. Due to Harper’s small size, everyone either knows, or knows of, everyone else. This makes for a fantastic close-knit community, with an accompanying friendly supportive environment.

It is a shame in one way that you cannot stay on campus for more than your first year, but the experience of living in a house with fellow students is brilliant. Other students in the area are always on hand to help each other out. I remember in my second year we forgot to top up the gas card, and so some lovely chaps over the road were nice enough to allow four cold and hungry girls into their house, saucepans in hand! And in return we cooked them Christmas dinner!

That’s basically what Harper is about, giving and taking. You get out of Harper what you put in, both socially and academically. It’s about getting involved, mucking in, and being open-minded. University is a period of your life that stays with you forever, yet at Harper students never seem to leave, even after they have graduated!

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