Graduate views: Abiola Gbaja-Biamilia
- Graduated 2012: BSc Criminology & Sociology
- Learning Support Assistant at a primary school
Can you tell us a bit about what you're doing now?
I graduated recently and am currently working for a primary school as a Learning Support Assistant. I work on a one-to-one basis with a child with a severe form of autism. I am given a plan by his class teacher and then I must find ways to deliver the lesson in a multi-sensory way for the child. As well as teaching lessons, I also take part in activities and programmes with the child.
Has your course helped you in your current role?
My course showed me that there is never only one side to a story. The lecturers showed that there is always another way to look at something as I was encouraged to look at particular topics through a gender lens, for example, and then criticise that argument from a criminological perspective, and then look at it again through a post-modernist lens. I have taken this approach in my job, realising that a 'one size fits all' approach doesn't work. This has helped me seek out new ways of teaching and new resources that will aid the understanding and learning of the child I work with.
What are your longer-term career plans?
I hope to work with young offenders, having gained the theory during my course. The course gave me a lot of flexibility during the third year, enabling me to focus on my specific area of interest, and as a result I want to go on to work with young offenders.
How did you develop an interested in criminology?
I have a general personal interest in crime and I love crime dramas such as The Bill. The highlight of my course was when I got the opportunity to write a whole essay on crime dramas and how they have changed over the years (thanks Chris Greer!).
Why did you choose City?
City was my first choice, mainly because I wanted to remain in London and it's a prestigious university.
What was your favourite module?
There are a few but Media and Crime, with Dr Chris Greer, was definitely one of them. It was all about how crime is portrayed in the media, which was already my area of interest.
Another one of my favourites was Youth Crime with Dr Carrie-Anne Myers. We looked at policy, media portrayal, prison statistics, among other things.
Were there any lecturers who particularly inspired you?
Oh yes, definitely! Dr Chris Greer and Dr Carrie-Anne Myers - they kept me going. They made the course so interesting. It didn't feel like a chore to go to lectures - I was always so keen to learn what they were teaching. They were also very passionate about what they taught so it made learning more fun. They also did their very best to help at every opportunity. Dr Carrie-Anne Myers became my dissertation supervisor and I was over the moon! She bent over backwards to help me and I got a First in my dissertation. She encouraged me so much and made my third year and dissertation so much more bearable. You could talk to Chris and Carrie-Anne about anything, even if it wasn't work related; they always wanted to help.
Any advice for someone considering this course?
Whatever you do, make sure you make the most of the lecturers and resources. Being at university can sometimes make you feel like you are alone and have nobody to help. However, the help is most definitely available, you just have to go and ask for it. Utilise the library, get the journals, pick your lecturers' brains, they are all there to help you.