The pastoral team gave me the help and guidance I needed to study my course
Ra'ana Khan is a mature international student studying the MA Childhood Studies and Early Years course at Leeds Beckett University. Ra'ana's passion is to develop the Education System for children from underprivileged backgrounds and those with disabilities due to her own personal battles she encountered while being in school in Pakistan. She tells us how the Pastoral Team within Carnegie School of Education helped her regain her confidence.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what drew you to study your course?
I enrolled as a mature student from Pakistan on the distance learning MA Childhood Studies and Early Years course. Previous education had been a traumatic experience for me due to being an undiagnosed dyslexic. It destroyed my self-confidence, and I really struggled in coursework and exams. I believe education should empower and equip every individual with all appropriate knowledge and skills to live to their fullest potential.
I want to help create an education system that is customised to cater to the needs of Pakistan and its people bearing in mind the socio-economic demographics and the limitations and resistance. I am passionate about ensuring the underprivileged masses and students with learning disabilities are recognised as an essential part of society, primarily focusing on developing early-year schooling based on equity rather than equality.
I had already established a small-scale non-government organisation (NGO), The Improvement Movement (TIM) for this purpose. However, I felt that I needed more experience and knowledge to achieve my ultimate goal. I then came across the MA Childhood Studies and Early Years course at Leeds Beckett and it was the perfect course to progress my career.
How did you find out about the pastoral care team? Did you know about the Pastoral service prior to choosing your course and did this impact your decision?
From enrolling on the MA Childhood Studies and Early Years course, I had to face my worst fear, which was to be in a formal schooling environment again. I already had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), so it was overwhelming facing these feelings and emotions again. Especially because I had decided to continue my education after a hiatus of 20 years, and it was the first time I was studying at an international university.
Knowing of my disability this time, I sought help for Dyslexia and Dyspraxia, which I did at the University. However, while I waited for the detailed assessment report, I was besieged with panic and fear in my ability and capability on the course. So I reached out to my 'Literacy Difficulties and Dyslexia' module teacher Andrea Oz for help and assistance, she guided me tremendously and connected me to the Pastoral Team within Carnegie School of Education.
How has the Pastoral team helped you?
The Pastoral team has helped me tremendously. Nicola Newby, as I often say to her, is my new best friend she has shown me support through everything and is always there when I need to chat to someone. She has held my hand at my weakest and been the relief and guide I required. She has calmed me down not just by her kind words, but she would find the relevant solutions and assistance I needed and helped me every step of the way.
How would you describe the pastoral team's service?
I would describe the pastoral team as a lifeline for every struggling student. They really empowered me when I was falling apart and helped me regain confidence, just knowing that someone understands and roots for us as students is valuable to our university experience.
What advice would you give someone thinking about seeking out pastoral care from them?
I would say do not think twice, just go for it. Get in touch with the Pastoral Team if you feel you are confused, lost, lacking or just need to speak to someone. I went through the most challenging year of my life, not only educationally but also personally. There is no way I could have survived this far without the kindness and support from the Pastoral Team.