Business taken care of for returning student

Wed, 30 Jun 2021 16:19:00 BST
Callum completed a Diploma at Glasgow Clyde College before returning to GCU
Callum completed a Diploma at Glasgow Clyde College before returning to GCU

A Business Management student is set to graduate this summer, having previously dropped out ten weeks into his first year at University. 

Callum Rennie originally joined GCU straight from school as a fresh-faced 17-year-old but struggled to adapt to the new way of learning, while also facing difficult personal circumstances away from his studies.  

He explained: “I had three family bereavements that year, so I took some time out and basically took a false start. My gran didn’t have a carer at the time, so I took on that role, while also working 50 hours of nightshift during the week at a property management company. 

It was a hard choice to leave initially because I think you feel like you’ve let people down and you feel like a bit of a failure. It’s quite hard to deal with, especially when you’ve got a lot of time to yourself to think these things over. At the time it was probably the best thing to do but if I’d known there was more support available then I probably wouldn’t have made that decision. 

Callum, who was the first person in his family to go to University, added: “I decided to re-apply the year after but I missed the cut-off date and my gran passed away. I went to college instead and felt it would be the right move and still allow me to return at some point.  It was always my goal to come back to the Business Management course. 

Having found his motivation once again, Callum dug deep to complete a Diploma in Administration and Computing at Glasgow Clyde College – although he admits the gap between the two pillars of Higher Education was less than he initially expected.  

He explained: “I’d probably say getting by College was the hardest part of my journey.  

It’s a completely different set-up to University and I don’t think the jump between is as big as everyone thinks. I think it’s just slightly different because you’re doing more from home with more self-management at University. 

With a much-needed confidence boost behind him, Callum returned to GCU as a direct entry student and a different man in September 2019.  

This time around he was determined to take full advantage of his opportunity and he learned to invest in others to help ease his transition back into University life. 

Callum said: “It was probably the people I met that helped me a lot this time around - I think I stayed in my lane too much the first time. 

My year-group is full of hard workers and I’ve got a good group of people around me, which has really helped push me onI think that would probably be my advice to new students; try and mix with those that want to get their head down and do well.  

There are a lot of mature students and international students and being around them is just such a great experience for developing on a personal level - rather than just hanging about with people of the same age and same culture. 

He added: “I also wish I’d originally known how much student support there is and how you can go to the likes of the Wellbeing Team at any time. I probably should have used this sort of thing more first-time around but it’s easier said than done when you’re looking back. 

Another reason this time around was better and easier was because I used the Learning Development Centre (LDC) – it really helped me settle in with my coursework. I was there from the third or fourth week from when I started back and the guys up there in the Business LDC have been fantastic. They don’t just help you with your work, they also make sure you’re doing okay overall – it’s like having a cross between a pal and a lecturer. You can drop by for 15 minutes and you can also now do it virtually.” 

Having recently completed his dissertation on consumer attitudes towards electric cars, Callum has navigated a route to graduation that, at one point, didn’t look possible. Not being one to rest on his laurels, he already has a plan in place for the future. 

He explained: “I’d actually applied to go away and teach in South Korea but that never went to plan with the pandemic. 

It’s actually worked out though, because I’m working at the SQA in the International Logistics Team. Part of the role is quality checking centres in Asia, which obviously ties in. I figured if I know what happens in terms of the centres and qualifications then it would help me in the future if I do decide to go for teaching as my chosen career. 

For Business Management in high school, you normally just learn about operations, systems and processes. A lot of schools miss out on things like entrepreneurism, emerging economies and how to start a business with limited money through social media and things like that. I think it’s a great way to improve the attainment gap and I’d love to improve skills and help to alleviate a bit of strain in the education system.”  


By Ross Clark   
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