Belinda’s Story

What was your pathway since leaving school?

I did a gap year before university. Went to uni but hated it and left after a few weeks. It was the wrong course and I was also very homesick. Then I worked in a bank for 2 years whilst doing another A level at night school and then I went to a different university.

What made you come back to education?

I always wanted to go to university but I did science A levels at school when I should really have done arts subjects -I was trying to get into medical school but science wasn’t my strong point and I didn’t get the grades for medical school. So I started a law degree at uni and didn’t like it. I left and then did A level history at night school and then did a history degree at university.

What courses did you start with, where did you study and why did you choose that course?

I studied History at the University of York. I’ve always loved history, I didn’t want to go to a big city university and York was perfect for me -not too big and a lovely place to live and study.

What kind of barriers or concerns did you encounter? How did you work through these? Who supported you? Where did you find help?

I was homesick at York too and nearly left again but I spoke to one of my new friends at uni who was really supportive and my mum made me go to the university pastoral service too. In the end it was the support of my friend which was all I needed.

What would you want others who are thinking about returning to education to know?

Don’t give up. If the place or the course isn’t right then try again somewhere else.

What did you go on to do after gaining the qualifications you chose?

Worked in the media for 30 years.

How do you think returning to education as an adult is different to continuing into college and then Uni from school?

I finally went to uni 4 years later than anyone else. I do think having time in a workplace before that did make me more mature – especially when I went into my first job after leaving York. My life experience made me a better more empathetic journalist I think.

What benefits has returning to education brought you?

Everything I enjoy now -my work and the benefits that that brings.

What five words do you associate with your higher education journey?

Life-changing –that’s all!