Lisa’s Story

Our Programme Manager's story

Where did you grow up?


Where did you study for a degree?

Newcastle University.

Why did you decide on this university?

My decision to go university wasn’t easy. If I’m honest, I didn’t really know much about higher education, as no one in my family had ever gone to university. Also, there wasn’t even a university in Cumbria at the time. Luckily my school, Ullswater Community College in Penrith, provided me with opportunities to visit several different universities around the country, where I booked on to various Saturday open days with my mum. We enjoyed the trips to different cities and always made time for shopping afterwards! Even with all the open days and reading the different university prospectuses, it was difficult deciding which university would be best for me.

I wanted to go to a top university so visited Newcastle, Manchester and York. Being from a small town, I thought a buzzing and vibrant city like Manchester would be my favourite, but when I got there I just felt lost. York seemed like a good option, but the train tickets were more expensive – and it took ages to get home. Finally, I decided on Newcastle. I was comfortable with the city as I’d visited it previously on a number of occasions with my family. It was far enough away to feel I’d left home and could be independent, but close enough to get back at the weekend if I felt a bit homesick.

What support did you get?

Once I’d made my decision, my mum and dad were supportive but nervous about me moving away from home. We made use of information on websites as well as contacts within school and the university to work through the student finance and accommodation processes.

What was the best thing about your university and/or your course?

When I got to Newcastle, it wasn’t always easy, but I learned loads – not only about my subject but also about myself! It’s fair to say that I absolutely loved my time in Newcastle – and my degree has opened so many doors and helped me to get a job I love. It was definitely the right decision to go to university.

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We work with partners across Cumbria to support young people to realise their potential, including colleges, universities and employers.