Access to Higher Education, Mature learners, Student Experience, Student Stories, Widening Participation

A personal story by Graham Moran…

After leaving my degree studies at 18 years old, feeling like I never wanted to return to any form of higher education ever again, I felt wrung out, tired and wanted to explore the other side of the pavement. As the years passed, I felt a sense of disappointment at myself for not pursuing education further. I had always enjoyed it, at school and at A-Level, and aged 31, felt the time was right for me to take action and stop pondering ‘what if?’ After hitting the proverbial glass ceiling working within hospitality, I made the decision to apply for Go Higher at the University of Liverpool in the summer of 2015 with the aim of furthering myself academically. 

I can honestly say I have never looked back. I attended an interview, and had a small assessment, which consisted of basic Maths and English, was accepted on the course beginning in September 2015. Although the course was one day a week, we were all encouraged that there was independent study involved also. On our first day, we were told that we were ‘not empty vessels’, and that the course centred on self-directed learning, and the course would teach us how to do this. As daunting as this seemed, not only did we find incredible support from our lecturers and mentors, but the friendships we made with each other on the course were invaluable. We became like a block of friends, all supporting each other, which, alongside the support from the staff, allowed us all to really get the most from the Go Higher experience. As the course progressed, we learned that the course for most of us was not just an academic process. As well as nurturing skills such as referencing, academic writing and computer skills, we were also growing in confidence, which prepared us for the various disciplines involved in becoming a more rounded student.

I would encourage anyone who is considering the move into higher education to consider Go Higher at the University of Liverpool. The sessions are always engaging, interesting, delivered in a fresh and interesting way, and the support from the staff is fantastic.

I am looking forward to starting my English degree in September and not only do I feel prepared, I no longer feel the sense of intimation or fear that I felt had been an obstacle before. Although we are all off to different courses and universities, I’m sure that the Go Higher class of 2015-2016 are going to remain lifelong friends!

Below – some of the class of Go Higher 2015-16 at end of semester 1 celebration.


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