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

My Go Higher Experience, by Kerry Furlong

If you’re reading this because you want to know if Go Higher is worth a try, or whether you should apply or not – perhaps you’re a little unsure if it’s for you – heed my advice: Do It! Apply now! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Need a little more persuading? Allow me to take you back – way, way, back – to summertime last. It was June 2018. I had been made redundant from my job of ten years, suffered a betrayal of shocking magnitude, and fell into a deep depression. I was lost, between jobs and feeling regretful of my lack of qualifications; I wanted more out of life, I wanted to get back into education, and I needed help getting there.

While searching online for access courses, I came upon Go Higher. Never in a million years could I have guessed just how life-changing it would be. Just a year after what must’ve been the darkest period of my life, I’m on my way to university for my dream degree. I’ve made new friends, acquired new skills, and learned for myself that I’m not as stupid as I thought I was.

Don’t get me wrong, I was nervous when I applied, nervous at my assessment, and nervous when the course started. However, I soon realised that everyone was in a similar boat – anxious about meeting new people, trying to take in all the details of the course, wondering: “can I really do this?”. I needn’t have worried. All the tutors were friendly and approachable, always willing to give extra advice and guidance, and most of them had been on the Go Higher course themselves. For me, knowing that these successful people were once in my position was massively encouraging. It gave me something to aspire to.

Unlike some access courses, Go Higher only takes place one day a week, so it’s easy to fit around your home life. Many of my fellow students had children, pets, work and other commitments but still passed the course with flying colours. If you put in the work, you will reap the rewards. As for myself? I got 74% overall and 82% on the maths module – I could’ve fainted when I got those marks! I was never good at maths in school, and had that message hammered into me by negative people as I grew up. But the maths tutors were positive and reassuring and helped me so much throughout the course.

Within the space of 9 months, I went from suicidal and isolated to hopeful and confident; a former high school dropout turned mature student, who is now heading to undergraduate study with all the youthful enthusiasm and vigour of someone fresh out of A Levels.

Go Higher has literally changed my life for the better, my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

2 thoughts on “My Go Higher Experience, by Kerry Furlong

  1. Well done Kerry. You did brilliantly and are an inspiration. Never forget our long discussions about marijuana!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.