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29 Aug 2017

University of Chester graduate is flying high after completing travel degree

Since Rebecca O’Brien completed her Tourism Management degree at the University of Chester recently, she’s visited a host of European countries. But not as a tourist – 22-year-old Rebecca bagged her dream job working as a cabin crew member for an international airline. 

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Rebecca, from Chester, joined the University’s Business School at level 6 – the final year – to convert a two-year Travel and Tourism HND qualification she had completed at West Cheshire College, to an Honours degree. 
Colin Potts, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Tourism and Events Management, said: “This was a big challenge for Rebecca. The transition from further to higher education is often daunting, because the levels and forms of study are so different and the new students have to fit into a new environment where their fellow students have had two or three years’ previous experience of university. But Rebecca went about it in exactly the right way, and now she’s regarded by her tutors as a role model for students following this route.” 
Rebecca admits the transition was difficult at first.  She said: “Everyone knew each other and it was a completely different style of teaching. At college, we sat through lessons in much the same way as we did at school.  Then we were told what to do and our tutors we always there to answer out questions. It’s completely different at university. We have lectures and then we’re left to our own devices to produce our work, so you have to be very self-motivated.  That’s not to say that the lecturers aren’t very supportive if you need help – so I soon settled in and made great friends.” 
Rebecca took a gap year after completing her HND course and worked in retail, gaining useful management experience. “That boosted my confidence and I felt ready to go to university,” she said. 
She will graduate in November, after gaining a First in her dissertation – The Influence of Instagram on Travel Decisions. Her degree overall will be a 2:1. 
Colin Potts said: “Becky was successful because she realised from the start that university would be different to college and she took the time to learn how to adapt from her lecturers and fellow students.  She learned quickly and joining an informal study group helped her integrate socially and academically.” 
Rebecca is currently enjoying flying around the continent in her new job, putting into practice the understanding and skills she gained at the University of Chester.  And she’s looking forward to returning to the University for her graduation ceremony in November – and later as a mentor to final year students who are making a similar transition from local colleges. 
She said: “I’ll be happy to share my experiences to help other students who may be finding the change from college to university a little daunting.” 
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