For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to go to university. University, for me, wasn’t a way of getting to a specific career I wanted, but it was the goal itself. I knew I wanted to go to university to do something, but I had no idea what that would be or what I would do after. My education journey was full of uncertainty and set backs, and hopefully my story will be helpful to those who are uncertain what they want to do. 

My education journey was unconventional. I moved a lot and went to several different schools. I had a lot of choice when it came to doing my GCSEs and so I didn’t do anything related to science because I didn’t enjoy it. This was a mistake and one of my biggest regrets. Although I wanted to go to university, I knew nothing about apprenticeships until I learned about them in Year 12. As I hadn’t studied science, I couldn’t apply for any STEM based apprenticeships. Had I known about this earlier, I wouldn’t have limited myself in what I was studying as much.  

Sixth Form and the impact of my disability  

By the time I started sixth form, I had studied, and realised my passion for, Classics and History. Realising that I was good at Latin, I discovered that I could do Classics at university and set my sights on that. I understood that you don’t have do something specific at university to work in many careers in the future. My parents told me that an undergraduate degree would provide me with specific transferrable skills – such as research, time management and commitment – that would cross apply to future jobs, even if the content of my degree wasn’t relevant. I took History and English Language within my sixth form, and I studied Latin outside of school. Originally, I applied to university to do Classics at the University of Edinburgh as well as participating in a summer programme (aimed at getting students from disadvantaged areas into Durham University) to receive a decreased offer which I used as my second choice.

However, during my time at sixth form I began to struggle. I was diagnosed at 18 with autism. It was only at this point that I started to understand myself and my needs and began to receive support for those. I didn’t meet the grades I needed to get into my choices. Results day was a huge blow to my self-confidence as I had been so focused on going to university. I decided that I needed a year to focus on myself and to rebuild my confidence. Instead of going through clearing, I took a gap year and spent that time developing skills teaching abroad at a school, and then working on a Crisis Text Line. My gap year was invaluable time that I spent developing myself and understanding my disabilities, and I was able to reapply to do Egyptology with Classical Studies at the University of Liverpool. Egyptology was my passion as a child, and I decided that I wanted to do something at university that I would really enjoy. 

BA: Egyptology, University of Liverpool 

Egyptology was 100% the right choice for me. In my second year I dropped the Classical Studies and switched to a complete Egyptology degree and I loved every second of it. I accessed a huge amount of support from the university as well as the Disabled Student Allowance, helping me to thrive at university. I seized every cross-disciplinary opportunity to study outside of my subject and university. For example, I took part in an archaeological excavation in Turkey, and developed education skills working for a company teaching debate in schools.  

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