This three-year, longitudinal, narrative study sought to explore physiotherapy students’ stories of their undergraduate experiences to gain an insight into the process of being a student, with an interpretation of the philosophy of Heidegger as a possible horizon for understanding. The central aim was to listen to students’ stories told in their own words over a series of narrative interviews throughout their degree programme. The first author [CH] interviewed six students a minimum of five occasions and at each interview they were encouraged with a narrative prompt to tell the stories of their experiences as a series of episodes beginning and finishing wherever and however they felt was most appropriate. Framework analysis of the stories revealed that each individual’s experience of university life was multi-layered, and the use of Heideggerian philosophical tenets to inform our interpretation allowed a more insightful exploration of the students’ experiences; providing a greater understanding of what being a student meant for these particular students. This study underlines the importance of listening to students to understand their being so that we might understand individual needs and tailor support accordingly.


Student Experience, Becoming, Being, Student Engagement, Narrative, Heidegger, Learning, Physiotherapy, Framework Analysis

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Claire Hamshire is a Senior Learning and Teaching Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). Her research interests include student engagement and learning transitions. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: c.hamshire@mmu.ac.uk.

Dr. Kirsten Jack is a senior lecturer in adult nursing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research interests lie in the development of emotional self-awareness and the creation of innovative educational methods. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: k.jack@mmu.ac.uk.

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