Since Step Up I have embraced university life to the fullest

Sitting alone in the house was depressing and boring so I decided to find out about community’ learning, I knew the local primary school offered Maths courses so I was sure there must be more out there

lowest interest personal loans

Step Up has made my lifetime ambition in going to university a reality. I am now a university rep, a Student Ambassador and have created a new society at the university. As for the future, who knows? However, I have ambitions to work with young offenders in order to create positive role models and influencers for their futures.

My confidence increased rapidly and I mentioned to the tutor I fancied University but wasn’t sure

Sometimes life just makes you think, doesn’t it? I had spent twenty years working with special needs pupils and due to a neck problem I was unable to continue in the role. Searching online I came across Adult Learning in Stoke on Trent, there were some interesting courses available and I thought Why not?’ it was a way to get out and about, have some social interaction and refresh or learn some new skills. So, over a few months I attended a basic First Aid course, introduction to forensic science and counselling skills.

The tutors were great and the locations were easily assessable. First Aid was useful as it can be applied in so many instances, whilst forensic science improved my observation skills and gave me an understanding of how crimes are dealt with. The silk painting was relaxing and the other ladies who attended were especially welcoming and friendly which helped me to deal with feelings of loneliness. The counselling course was amazing, in addition to learning communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal, active listening skills and the history and purpose of person-centred counselling there was a lot of reflection and self-improvement work. I learned about my drives and motivations, influences and found I understood myself much better. I was encouraged to explore all the opportunities open to me and told, it was never too late to realise my ambitions. Adult Learning had certainly awoken my thirst for learning and I wanted more.

I decided to search Facebook for a mature students at Staffordshire University page and once finding it, I posted asking if they thought that 50 was too old to study. I received a series of resounding Nos and was signposted to Rose and Step Up to HE. Within days of sending an email I had secured a place on Step Up and as they say…the rest is history.

Step Up gave me the skills and knowledge to apply for an undergraduate degree. I learned how to plan, research and write academic essays. My critical thinking improved. I learned about my learning style, how I acted within group work situations and how to deal with conflict within groups. Achieving a high final grade gave me the final bit of confidence to move onwards.

Four years on I have a B.A. (Hons) First Class in Philosophy and have, this week, written my final dissertation for a Master of Arts degree. It’s not been easy but with the skills I gained throughout my learning journey I succeeded. Additionally, at Staffs’ you are never on your own; the tutors are also available, there is study skills support to improve written work, library staff can help with research and the Enabling Centre and Faculty staff are available to help when life comes along and dumps a heavy load on your shoulders. This, in my view, is an essential for mature students who have not only studies but families to manage.