After recently completing Go Higher at the University of Liverpool, I can honestly say it is by far one of the best decisions I have ever made and I am so pleased I decided to take up the offer of a place. I am a mum of two children (22 and 17, now grown up). I left school at 16 with a couple of qualifications O level/CSEs, yes that long ago! By the way I am 48. I went on to find myself in many different jobs that were very much without opportunities and once I had my children I suppose I was content to work part time to fit around bringing up the kids.
I have worked as a domestic for the University of Liverpool now for many years and it was here that I heard about Go Higher. So I thought I would give it a shot, well apply anyway, as I seemed to fit all the criteria on the application. Although I didn’t hold out much hope after all it was a university I was applying to! I quickly received a friendly email asking me to go and attend an assessment and an interview, (panic). I attended the interview and assessment thinking I probably won’t get past this part. I remember being so nervous especially at the thought of the maths paper, I hate maths, or used to! I had no need to be scared as the staff were so friendly and made me feel at ease which in turn made the whole process feel very informal. I will always remember one of the tutors that day telling me I had taken the biggest step just by turning up for the interview.
I still didn’t hold out much hope as my maths and English were so rusty. However, a couple of weeks later I received an email with the news that I had been offered a place on the course. I was thrilled as I had also been given the time off work to attend. So I began to look forward to September. The Go Higher course requires you to attend all day Wednesday with the requirement that the rest of your studies and assignments are to be done at home.
September arrived and so did the nerves, I remember asking myself the usual questions: was I capable? Am I too old? Is everybody else going to be a brain box! So I talked myself into just turning up and seeing how the first day goes, and maybe I could do a runner if things got bad. Around 10.30am on the first day of our three-day induction, somebody suggested coffee, what a word. So we all sort of ambled over to the coffee shop, we were all complete strangers, all scared and confused, not just me. What strikes me about that time is that friendships were formed that morning over coffee, and probably long lasting ones too.
To my amazement I survived day one, and so retuned the next day making the same deal with myself that I could always do a runner if things got bad. That day was our first lecture it was so exciting. It was with James our English lecturer. He gave a reading from ‘Jude the Obscure’, and it was at this moment I thought I’m in, and I guess I knew that I would be in for the long haul.
This past year I have thoroughly looked forward to coming to campus each Wednesday. There have been many highlights not to mention an amazing long weekend residential trip to Suffolk which tied in perfectly with my Literature and History modules. A weekend away with no Wi-Fi and no television with the added bonus of snow and the most beautiful landscapes. It certainly was an unforgettable trip. I have met some truly amazing people and hopefully made a few lifelong friends along the way. The tutors and lecturers are always ready to help and their feedback has been invaluable, nothing is ever too much trouble. There is also plenty of support from fellow students and I think this is what makes Go Higher special, it really is a very supportive environment.
I now hold a conditional offer to study English Literature and History here at the University of Liverpool, and I am waiting, fingers crossed for the rest of my grades to come in. Looking back to this time last year I never would have dreamed that this was at all possible, just by forcing myself to turn up and then taking one step at a time, I soon began to love it.
Go-Higher has given me so much confidence, I still cannot believe how far I have come. Also, it is actually fun, it can get a little stressful around deadlines but there are many laughs. Finally, I have to say that I would just love do it all over again as I miss Wednesdays so much, along with some of the friends I have made, but I know it is time for me to take another step.
Below – last day celebrations: