John Moran Educational - Trust Making financial awards to support the entry into higher education
Student Profiles

The Trust has made awards to over forty two deserving students from the Merseyside region since it was set up in 2003. Here’s more about what these students did with their awards, and what it meant to them:

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I'm eighteen years of age and come September I will be studying Architecture in the University of Liverpool. I took a great risk when applying to Higher Education as it was the one and only place I applied. I did not choose the University of Liverpool based purely on its close proximity or the factor of money, however those factors still played major roles. I looked at what I wanted to study and where I was aspiring to study; Liverpool, a historic city loaded with many contextual works from around the world. Not just buildings that captured various art movements of the past but a flourishing community of peoples from different cultures who influence the current and future art movements. Liverpool was after all European Capital of Culture in 2008.

Following school I enrolled at Hugh Baird College. I was the only one from my close circle of friends to go there. It followed a difficult decision where I eventually picked my head over my heart. I took an Extended Diploma in 3D design, a BTEC as opposed to 3 three A-Levels as I felt that this particular course of study would be more beneficial for my goal; Architecture .It became apparent to me that I had made the correct choice when a former 3D Design student who'd just graduated from Liverpool University’s Architecture course, came into College to give a talk. It appeared that students from my background in education initially fare better than those with A-Levels. This reassured me.

Across the two years of college, of the 18 modules completed I received 18 distinctions in 3D Design, dropping no marks and was granted D*D*D*, easily surpassing the entry requirement for University. Another course ran alongside this; Computer Aided Design (C.A.D), Level 2 in the first year and then another Level 3 in the second. These successes and consecutive ‘Best in Show’ awards (an award for our end of year shows) and Design Awards meant I felt more confident and ready for University.

While completing work for my course I came across Capita Symonds who work alongside Sefton council. Through my contact with them I secured work experience, at one of their main offices based in Blackburn. As College finished I was in contact with them and spent two months commuting from Liverpool to Blackburn. Work Experience with Capita ended but I have been asked to contact them at the end of my first year in University!

Reflecting on the past two years I realise that I've undergone a great deal of change. I was a reserved character who has come out of his shell, wanting to take greater control, regardless of disadvantages, such as money. I want to try new things. I'd like to learn German and Japanese at some stage. They're both beneficial for the career I have in mind and of personal interest. I'd like to be part of the first generation of people not to rely upon a petrol/diesel powered car and opt for greener alternatives, again being green is something of great influence in modern Architecture. I like to help people, I'm on the organ donor register and have donated blood. At present I'm preparing for a 50 mile charity bike ride in Southport to help support the Clatterbridge cancer charity.

I thank the John Moran Trust for the award along with all of its Trustees who took their time to arrange an interview which was held in a helpful atmosphere. I hope to keep in touch beyond my University life.

Thank you.

First year has come and gone so fast! Time flies when you’re having fun and that’s (almost) exactly what the whole of the year has been like. That’s not to say I’m a party crazed student, rather I’ve enjoyed the learning environment, meeting of other like-minded people and so forth.

I decided to live at home for the first year of studies; I had applied to several halls of residence but their offer didn’t match up with my preferences in any category. Considering that I live in Liverpool and I am only a twenty minute train journey away, I took the decision to decline the offer and stay at home. While it may be a disadvantage to live at home and miss the “social buzz” of this new environment I did make an effort to attend several fresher’s events hosted by the Liverpool Guild of Students.

I enjoy lectures. To be taught in this way was different from any other form of teaching I’ve experienced. The lecturers are inspiring and I didn’t find a single module boring despite what others thought. The drawback to our lectures though (and specifically for our lecture theatre) was it’s a very good environment for inducing drowsiness; the room is warm and dark- even with lights on! However, come second year we’re in a different theatre as the school takes on a handful of Chinese Students, this exceeds the current theatre capacity!

The most exciting aspect I believe is our Studio Projects- source of the stereotypical architecture student who never sleeps or eats. This is the most independent part of the course, you can use the studio whenever you want; there is no time allocation and we have 24 hour access to the school (I’ve never had a need to use it but it was something other students convinced the department to reintroduce). The projects are a place to shine, a place for your individuality to come out and explore new methods of working/designing with and alongside fellow students of all years.

On the other hand, studio projects can also be very frustrating when it comes to marking. ‘Design’ is often opinion based and can cause a spat between student and tutor or even tutor and tutor in some critiques! As such I don’t believe necessarily the best designer receives the best mark, as the marking criteria accounts for a small percentage of the overall grade. It’s a slight annoyance for me but I’ll let it go as my studio projects turned out quite well (I’m stronger here than exams) and look forward to taking on second year.

Last year I spoke of riding for the Clatterbridge Cancer Charity, it was a great success and I completed the course with my aunt and raised some money for those who are suffering. It was also the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done! I also mentioned work experience with Capita, I undertook this for a period of two months prior to starting University and I’m still in contact with them. Unfortunately I couldn’t undertake any work experience this year due to more recent events.

Why couldn’t I undertake work experience this year? During first year every undergraduate student was sent an email by the University Study Abroad Team. They advertised a scholarship program titled South China University of Technology (SCUT). This was an opportunity to study in China for one academic year learning Mandarin Chinese. If I were my old self I would probably have heeded it little attention and bypassed it… but I didn’t. The program had only twenty places available, I read a bit more about it and learnt that the financial backing to take this year out was also quite generous; it appealed very much to me as you can understand. Last year I stated I’d like to learn German/Japanese at some point, but I guess that can wait for now as I am going to learn Mandarin as I was offered a place to go! I couldn’t quite believe it, I thought I wouldn’t get a place and right now I am just two weeks away from flying away and it still hasn’t sunk in!

In recent weeks I attended a compulsory six week summer school initiating me in Mandarin at the Liverpool Confucius Institute (this is why I couldn’t undertake further work experience at Capita). The twenty of us lived in the luxurious Vine Court Halls of Residence (built last year) and it gave me a taste of the student life I missed out on during the first year of study.

During this time I was required to give tours around the school and talk to prospecting students… the thought struck me then, just how fast a year had gone- I was in that position not too long ago!

With that, I find it an appropriate time to close. I have suspended my studies for one year- but I’ll be back and I’ll be sure to keep in contact and will be taking a camera with me! Thank you to the John Moran Educational Trust, and everyone involved.

During the latter stages of my first year of university, I was pleasantly surprised to find I'd been awarded a scholarship.  This scholarship saw myself and twenty other students spend 2013/14 studying Mandarin Chinese in China!  We were made to suspend our studies in the UK for one year to allow us to undertake this program.

The most common question when I returned was; “How was it?” It's a question I really can't answer.  It was just a completely different place to live. But as a human you adapt and it becomes your everyday, normal routine... I guess you could say it was either the same (as living at home) or as far from the same as possible!

Of course life there was different; having a roommate was something new.  We had it lucky; the Chinese students often shared rooms with five to sixteen others!  The teaching worked in a similar style to that of our schooling system; you have lessons set in blocks throughout the day, and the day started at 08:00.  I adapted well to living away from home (during first year I lived at home) even if I was far, far away.

Spring Break/Chinese New Year was perhaps the most unusual time of year.  Our campus was not inside the centre of a city like many in the UK; it was one of a collective — situated upon an island. Come Spring Break the once bustling campuses become barren and seemingly devoid of all human activity!  I'm really not exaggerating all that much either; students and teachers alike return to their families during the holiday— which are usually in the countryside.  Only Mc Donalds and KFC remained open during this time!

We all made great friends, and I guess that will be the biggest loss.  While we can still speak to one another in some form or another, the physical link is gone.  I've also been asked if I will go back, the answer again is ambiguous.  It was an experience that's for sure!

It will be interesting to return to my studies; as half of our second year group will be Chinese!  My friends during first year will now be one year ahead of me.  I can't wait to get this year (2014/15) started!  I also made the decision to move out into private halls this time around.  I guess living away from home for so long had a say in this decision!

Two years ago I finished my first year of study. I knew at the time I wouldn’t be returning in the fall for second year. It’s quite a contrast comparing it to the now; instead of a preparatory summer school for my year in China, I’ve found a placement at an architectural practice in Chester.

Back in September it took a portion of first semester to settle back in. Things were different; my friends were in third year, the tutors/staff had changed, and I was living away from home. Admittedly, the former was most difficult to adhere to. Being the outsider to a year group who’d already spent a year together made settling in a difficulty. It was also difficult seeing my friends from first year, which is odd considering we (the whole undergraduate program) work in the same building on a daily basis, albeit in different rooms/studios. However that was something I was prepared for. When I finished school five years ago I did something similar, going to a different college/sixth form than to that of my friends. Concerning the latter, I wanted to continue living away from home following my year abroad. The experience and atmosphere of living away, and with others of a similar age, were more important factors than the financial. It was thoroughly enjoyable and we’ll be staying together next year. The university experience is far more attainable when you’re living in proximity.

At the start of second semester, the university offered a 12 week ‘top up’ course in mandarin. Though frustratingly on a Friday (the day of the week I occasionally visit home) it meant meeting up with those who were with me in China. We had met on few occasions during first semester, but now we could meet on a weekly basis and do things before/after. Having the class on a Friday helped in some other regard(s), by preventing me from visiting home, and in turn keeping my focus heavily devoted to my course. It was this period of time (the entirety of second semester) that saw most of my social life out of the window as I ground out long days of work, little sleep, and neglecting of recreational activity. It may not have been as enjoyable, but it had its benefits; I met a lot more of the people in my year group.

The timing between our project’s ‘pin up’ and exams was well timed, allowing a week for preparation as opposed to a day, as it was in first year. I’ve yet to receive any results, but I’m feeling fairly confident in the outcome. A week or so following the end of exams an email came through via the university system. It advertised a summer work placement at a practice in Chester. They wanted samples of work to determine the right student for the role so I sent my aforementioned project. It’s with great pleasure I can say it’s been offered to me, and with that I can continue my education throughout the summer.
I remember first meeting with the trustees of the John Moran Trust in 2012. In particular I remember being asked whether or not I would be living home or away. Having lived both a year home and away, I thank the trust again as it’s clear living away would have been more problematic if I had not received this bursary. I am looking forward to the final year; it’s going to be interesting… and my how time flies.

Having moved home a couple weeks back, I was clearing my room of what was and wasn’t needed. One such retention was a diary; I’d filled it during the summer of 2012— the summer before starting university. It was a boring read, but there was one page which caught my eye; a list of things I’d wish to achieve over the coming five to ten years.

I won’t divulge the list, but it allowed me a moment of reflection. It brought a smile and some tears to my face; most of the list had been achieved— and by a great margin at that. Unsurprisingly, those points which had not been met were no longer relevant! There were other diaries too; though I don’t think reading them is longer necessary. I didn’t finish clearing the room.

The third year of study came and went in record time, a shame as it’d been far and away the most enjoyable, despite also being the most stressful; perhaps you can’t have one without the other. I found it much easier getting to know those around me; tutors and fellow students, though I think that is as much a change of system as my own sociability!

We took trips across the country, and on Fridays following tutorials it was not uncommon to find us all (students and tutors) in one of several local pubs— you learn and hear things which cannot be said in school! There was some time during first semester to allow flexibility, but from the turn of the year it was all out work! It was routine to arrive first thing in the morning and leave at 7/8pm or later!

Following our exams and submissions, I was one of the “lucky few” to prepare our degree show. This was both an honour and an issue; everybody else would be preparing their portfolios and getting the cream of the jobs (year out placements) while we slogged away!

This was made a little easier for me, as not much later I received an invitation for interview through one of my tutors. This put me in good stead and so I took it up, headed to Manchester, and did what I could. A couple of weeks later I signed the contract and got around to a few house viewings— and have since found a room in Old Trafford.

With a new home and job on the horizon, it was time for graduation— which came in wake of a heat wave. We were quite lucky; the Monday was several degrees cooler than the days which followed, and the John Moores’ students —who graduated the preceding week— had to deal with the wet and grey! With that said, when it came to the ceremony; packing several hundred graduands together in a room, combined with the requirements to don your cap, gown, and suit… the hour and a half of applause came as an endurance more than anything!

Understandably, I was proud receiving a degree inscribed with Class I— as where my family; most of whom where in a marque on Abercromby Square. We met up and did our duty; photographs, drinks, a meal and so forth… and later on I left for a night out with my fellow graduates.

So here I am 4 years down the line; the dog is sleeping and the house is quiet— and I’m using the laptop which has been through it all! I don’t think it’s all quite sunken in yet; I feel as though everything is still moving fast. In the intermediate time I have some plans; a long reading list and a restlessness to get outside, enjoy the sun, and work on my fitness— which I may be guilty of neglecting!

I’d like to close by saying another thank you to the John Moran Educational Trust. I feel disheartened thinking this is my last entry, and it’s a moment which draws some parallels with a friend I spoke with a week or so back. We never had the chance of a proper farewell during graduation, and I rued that chance; however, my friend later said she didn’t like such “goodbyes” as they seemed absolute— it was assured we’d meet again.

In a similar light, I don’t wish to treat this entry as my final involvement with the John Moran Educational Trust. I recall our first meeting, and I asked a question regarding “the future”— beyond the university life, it’s something I’d like to keep open. So here is my “final” thank you to all those involved, and I hope we see each other one day in the future!