School of Divinity

Kirsty Forsyth

"As a mature student I didn’t know what to expect... I was pleasantly surprised."

As a mature student I didn’t know what to expect starting at Edinburgh University. Before classes started, I attended the welcome week. I found these events very helpful, for familiarising myself with the buildings and settling my nerves. We were given a tour by experienced students and given some helpful hints on how to use the university Learn site.

Resources online

Each class has an online handout, this gives you contact details for the lecturers, the course recommended reading and the details of the topics that will be covered in each lecture. I like to be able to prepare and plan, so the class handouts and the information on the Learn site helps me to do this.

There are PowerPoint presentations for each lecture, which are posted on Learn before the lecture. These are helpful to aid note taking during the lecture or as you do revision later.

I have dyslexia and found having all the information for the course on the Learn site helpful once I got use to navigating around the programme. I contacted Student Disability Services and they were able to give me extra software tools to help me and a Dictaphone. All lectures are recorded, this allows students to listen again, for revision or to make more notes.

Friendly and reassuring

My first lecture was in biblical studies, the lecturer was friendly and reassuring. The class was structured and easy to follow, we were given a handout that helped me make notes in class and to study later for the exam.

The lecture was stimulating. Class readings broaden out the subject. Lectures are happy to answer questions in class and make themselves available after class for in depth questions. There is a chance to engage with classmates in your tutorial classes.

There are always conversations in the Rainy Hall. A comfortable study space that would not be out of place in a Harry Potter movie. Wood panelled walls, with painted shields and portraits of past masters on the walls. Rainy Hall offers a chance to talk to fellow students. There a mixture of degree subjects that your classmates are studying making for stimulating ideas.

Informal and inclusive

I was pleasantly surprised by the informal and inclusive nature of life at New College. There are regular extra lectures, talks and book launches that everyone is invited too. These offer a fabulous opportunity to hear academics from other major international universities talk about their books or specialist subject. The opportunity to expose yourself to more advanced topics stimulating your critical thinking as these talks are followed by a question and answer session. There is no pressure to take part, but they allow you to hear how other academics tackle a subject you are interested in. These are not hierarchical gatherings; first years are as welcome as professors.

The staff at New College are interested in your learning and want to help you get the best out of your studies. They are open to new ideas, seeking to advance the study of their topic.