It feels like it’s taken years for this day to come, but it also feels like yesterday I was heading to my induction day! 9 months ago, I began my journey on the incredibly difficult path of an Access to Higher Education Course, completing 3 A-Levels in less than 1 acedemic year, in order to grab myself a place in University.

In September 2014, I took a week off work and went away to celebrate my 20th birthday with my boyfriend, when arriving back from the trip, the establishment I worked for did not exist anymore, the business had literally disappeared in the space of one week, and I was suddenly jobless. I had no redundancy pay and no notice from my employer, I was simply thrown into the world of unemployment, and after taking a while to adapt to my new situation, I suddenly realised that this could actually be the best thing that could have happened.

I finished school in year 11, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, so instead of going to college like my friends, I got a full time job working behind a desk. I told myself it would be temporary until I knew what I wanted to do, 3 years later I was still behind that desk. Comfortable with a weekly wage and too scared to quit and start a new journey. When I lost my job I knew it was a sign, the universe was telling me that now is the right time for me to take that path back into education and pursue what I want to do.

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I googled a bunch of colleges and browsed their available courses for mature students, I stumbled across a college in particular who had vacancies for an Access to Higher education course, for mature students. You can pick a pathway, Education, Health, or Sociology. I decided to apply I for the education route, as I had an interest in becoming a teacher. At the same time I was applying for jobs just incase it didn’t work out, a month passed and I got a call from Sainsburys offering me a interview, the job was full time, but I went anyway as I was worried about how I was going to pay the rent. A few weeks had passed, and I got an email from the college, offering me a place on the course! I was so thrilled, eager to start my new journey, the following day I got a call from Sainsburys offering me the job but with different contract hours – Weekends and 1 late night shift, it was almost like everything had come together all at once. I was going to college, and I also had an income!

My course began in September 2015, maybe that’s why it feels like it’s taken such a long time to get to this day, as I was applying for courses in October 2014. I was warned in the induction that the course would not be easy, it would take a lot of hard work and it will take up a lot of your own time. They advised everyone to work no more than 10 hours a week to cater for focusing on college work. I was completing 3 A-Levels in 9 months, whereas ordinary college students are given 2 years for theirs.

Its been one rollacoaster of a ride! Many stressful times, dramas, sleepless nights, tears, I’ve wanted to quit a few (hundred) times. But 9 months later, I am here, with 3 A-Levels, and a secured place at university to Study Psychology and Education. I can’t believe I’ve done it, there were times i disbelieved my capabilities. I am so proud of myself, I achieved the equivalent of 2 A’s and 1 B. And the course itself has helped me decide what I want to do, psychology has become more and more interesting to me as the course has gone by, which is why I chose psychology. At the moment I am interested in the work of Educational Psychologists, but I also enjoy the thought of teaching, so I like the idea of being a Psychology Teacher also.

I’ve learned so much on the course. From referencing to knowing that I can never leave an assignment until last minute, I’ve made some great friends, and the tutors were lovely and so supportive. Having to work every Sunday has been a bit of a pain, and the part time wages have really been a struggle. I will be finishing my job at Sainsburys in June, and I’m looking forward to rediscovering what it is like to be able to paint my nails again (as I work with fresh food) and to have a Sunday dinner with my family at the table instead of having to warm it up in the microwave when I get home from work.

I still haven’t really processed the fact that I will be going to university in September, my stomach turns with butterflies when I think of it. I am so excited, and so nervous, and at the same time I just proud that I have gotten this far. It’s an emotional experience, and as this chapter has come to an end. I can now enjoy the 16 weeks off, before starting a new one at university. I’m sure the next 4 years will be difficult, but also amazing, I can’t wait.

Love Kays X

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