Posted on Wednesday, 28 February 2018 at 4pm
by Lifelong Learning Centre Staff.
The following is a guest post by Tracy Hyde, a mature student currently studying for a BSc in Mental Health Nursing at Leeds.
I went back to Leeds City College to study English and Maths. I needed the qualifications to progress into nursing which was something I’d always wanted to do. I also wanted to prove that having children at a young age did not mean my life, ambitions and dreams were over.
I worked in insurance for 13 years but my heart was never in it, so I had a job change and started working as a PA for a lady who was blind and had physical disabilities. She used to live locally and then moved to Scotland. I used to commute to Scotland and stay with her and her family for 4- 5 days at a time. Whilst I worked for her I used to say how I wanted to get into nursing but didn’t have the qualifications to do this and that I was too old. She told me that the only person holding me back was myself. The funding for her care package came to an end so I bit the bullet and signed up for GCSEs in English and Maths.
My experience was a challenging one – it has been 25 years since I had been in education so I was back to basics. I also had to move to the Beeston campus in my second year when the Morley campus closed down and this meant a longer commute in rush hour traffic.
It was hard to attend classes and make sure all my homework was complete alongside working and running a home, but the end goal kept me going. The highlight for me was having supportive tutors whom I will be eternally grateful to for helping me get to this stage in my life. My Maths tutor offered additional sessions in his own time to make sure everyone succeeded. Nothing was too much trouble even when I had meltdowns and I felt that I just couldn’t grasp the dreaded algebra or know the difference between SOHCAHTOA and Pythagoras. I also met some like-minded peers who have become lifelong friends. All the hard work and determination paid off and I achieved my GCSEs.
During the run-up to my exams there was an option to attend some GCSE study sessions organised by the LLC. This was a brilliant opportunity to get up to scratch with my studies but also gave me the opportunity of looking to the future and seeing where my new qualifications might take me. I had a guidance appointment and became aware of the Preparation for Higher Education (PHE) course, which I enrolled on and subsequently completed. From there I was able to progress to the BSc Mental Health Nursing degree at Leeds.
If someone would have said to me when I signed up for English and Maths at Leeds City College that I would now be studying here I would have laughed. Regardless of your own situations do something for you and grasp any opportunity that comes your way. I’ve achieved this in four years and in the grand scheme of things that’s a drop in the ocean. I’m a normal girl from a working class background and if I can do it anyone can. I would like to again thank all my tutors that put up with me, supported me and helped me achieve the end result that I needed.