Looking back at my Go Higher self by Julie McColl

In October 2006 the second week of Go Higher, students were asked to write a short piece under the heading “Why I want to be a student on Go Higher”…this was my response:

I initially thought this would be an easy question to answer but the more thought I gave to it the harder it became. Had I been given this a couple of months ago my standard answer would have been that I needed to do it in order to get onto the degree course of my choice and to get myself back into the studying mode.

However, since being interviewed and starting on the GoHigher course I have realised just how much I as an individual need this course and cannot believe how lucky I am to be given the opportunity to participate. I was quite astounded by the enthusiasm of everyone involved with the course and by the level of work required. I don’t really know what I was expecting but I can say I was very impressed if not a little daunted. The commitment of everyone involved is apparent and I hope this will rub off.

I am hoping to study for a degree in Popular Music and this course will give me insight into what I can expect both from the subject and of the level of work required.

The task of writing our diaries has left me quite daunted as I struggled to find where I am going to make the time to study, but then I have got to realise that my life is going to change dramatically and in order for it to do that I have to make some changes (OK the children have gone to school in un-ironed shirts…but did anyone really notice?)

Back to answering the question as I see it now…I want to be a student on the GoHigher course for ME! , for me to be able to say ‘I have done this’, to say ‘I have mastered the art of study’, ‘I have disciplined myself to get essays written up on time’ and have insisted on being left ‘ALONE’.I have made some nice friends, used the grey matter and am getting very fit walking up Mount Pleasant.

In other words to be able to say at the end of this course ‘I have done it’. (hope I can say all these things—NO-being positive I WILL do it).

Julie's first piece of work for Go Higher

Julie’s first piece of work for Go Higher

Feedback received… ‘I am sure with your positive attitude you will go on and achieve your grade. I hope you enjoy the course Julie-good luck’.

It is strange to reflect upon the comments I made in 2006 and to think about how my life has changed. I often see myself in new GoHigher students but importantly see how they develop just as I did. I didn’t go on to do a Popular Music degree but instead took History. My children continued, and one still is continuing to go to school in un-ironed shirts (they are trendy I tell her) and I still find time-management to be an issue, but have found a system that works for me. I do reflect upon how lucky I was not only to find myself on the course but also upon the opportunities that have come my way since then. GoHigher does change you as a person it makes you more confident, it changes the way you approach life and makes you stop and think about what you want rather than what everybody around you think you want. I have had to make some big changes, for example, I met my partner on GoHigher, got divorced and moved house but with my increasing confidence and continued support from the GoHigher team I got my History degree, followed by a Masters of Research and am currently in my second year of a Ph.D. I am teaching first year undergraduates, mentoring current GoHigher students and loving every minute.

Had I been given a glimpse of my life now back in 2006 when I hoped to ‘have mastered the art of study’ I would not have believed for one minute I would be at this point and for those who know me well ‘laughed out loud’. But my message is believe in yourself, accept the support of the Go Higher staff and importantly enjoy it!!!

Julie McColl is a Go Higher Mentor

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