When I told people that I was planning on going back to university, aged 29, I received various responses. Some were overwhelmingly supportive. Some commended me for being ‘brave’. Some couldn’t understand why I would leave a promising career to go and study again.
I was working in retail for a global telecommunications company. I had done this pretty much since I left university in 2008, where I was studying Journalism and Video Production. As I was approaching 30, I managed to take a step back and reflect. Did I want to be in retail when I turned 50? Was I capable of more? The answers were No, and Yes. Why feel ‘stuck’ doing something I hated, just because the money was good?
I had always wanted to work in a caring profession, but I lacked confidence in science at school. I scraped my Cs for my GCSEs in 2002 and did not even consider continuing them for A levels.
After my epiphany, I decided I needed to do some further learning. I booked a free careers appointment at my local further education college. The careers adviser was so helpful, and suggested I complete an Access to Higher Education Diploma. This would give me the science knowledge I needed. The course cost £3000, but as I was over 24 I could get an Advanced Learning Loan from Student Finance to cover the cost. When I complete my degree, I won’t need to pay back the £3000.
My course is funded by the NHS, so this was an incentive as there are no tuition fees to be repaid. Cardiff Met offer a number of NHS funded courses, including my course Podiatry, Speech and Language Therapy and Dietetics. You’ll find lots of mature students on these courses.
Going back to university was a daunting prospect, but doing the Access course got me in the right frame of mind for studying again. My customer service experience has helped me to empathise with patients, and has also given me more patience than I have ever had!
Going back to university was not as easy decision for me, but it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am going to hopefully have an excellent career at the end of it, and I have proven to myself that I can push myself to strive for greatness.
Thinking of coming back to uni? Read more about life as a mature student.