I have faced many challenges on my journey as a mature student at Cardiff Met, but I’ve also learned many new skills in order to cope with these.
I left school at fourteen with no qualifications, no goals and no ambitions. Teenage life was not easy. By age eighteen I had two daughters. I spent the next few years at home with my partner raising my children and living on benefits.
I married at age twenty-one, and had my third child at twenty-six. I continued to be a stay-at-home mum raising my three children. Money was tight and life was difficult, but these were very enjoyable years.
But as my children grew up they started to need me less. I started to become bored and to think about my future, and what I would do as they grew up. I don’t own my own home, so as each child moves on it will be more difficult for me to afford to keep my home of the past eighteen years.
With my lack of work experience and references as well as my age, I knew that employment would be difficult to gain. In my spare time I began to participate in introductory courses in my community. These soon led on to level two courses, and then level three. My Confidence in myself grew massively, as did my social life.
Participating in these courses led to me taking a widening access level 3 psychology course, that offered the opportunity of a place at Cardiff Met university upon completing a final exam.
When I enrolled on the widening access course I did not think for one minute that I would really end up at university. The course was amazing – it was so interesting I actually wanted to go home after classes and learn more. I studied hard and passed the final exam with 79% gaining me a place at university.
At first it was very exciting. I met so many new people, participated in lots of fun events and went to lots of parties – I felt so young again! After the foundation year things calmed down a little and the work got more intense, but the foundation year had prepared me for this, and year one was still lots of fun.
With the support of my tutors and fellow students I have completed my second year and will soon enrol for my final graduation year. I can’t believe I’m actually doing it! The best bits have been meeting so many new people, making new friends, learning many new skills and gaining an amazing amount of confidence – actually achieving things feels great!
Since starting university I have gained work with Sherman theatre and youth offending services giving me lots of work experience that will help me in the future. I am now able to provide references to employers and my CV is looking much better.
The Health and Social Care course was ideal for me as it offers so many opportunities and different pathways. As I was unsure of what I was interested in.
One of the big challenges as a mature student was being able to put university first when my family relied on me so much and being able to put other life stresses aside so that I could concentrate on studying. Juggling home life, uni and work is hard. In order to cope time management skills were essential and with the support of tutors this was a skill I soon developed.
Anyone thinking of becoming a student at whatever their age definitely go for it. The experience is life changing. Sure it is difficult, and it does take dedication and commitment. But it offers so much in return, including a big confidence boost, a great social life, many years of fun, and most of all it makes you feel proud of your achievements.
I now have goals and ambitions in life, and university has definitely made me see the world differently. It is never too late – if I can do it anyone can.
Read more about what it’s like to study at Cardiff Met as a mature student.