I just posted my story in a module forum but I thought I'd post it here to encourage new students who are a little nervous about the coming year.
"It's not unusual for students on K102 to not have studied for a few years or to not have gone to college. Let me encourage you with my own story.
I left school after my O' levels to go on a Youth Training Scheme (YTS) scheme in a care home. But this wasn't the career I wanted as a child; I'd always wanted to be an English teacher. But such a job was completely out of reach for someone from a rough council estate in Luton in the 1980s. Whilst I wanted to be a teacher it was something I knew was out of my league, it was an impossible dream. I didn't know anyone who worked in a professional job; my father worked in a dairy factory, my mother was a canteen cook, and all my family worked in either factories, shops or child care. I didn't know anyone with a degree and my friends and boyfriend went on to do apprenticeships, even the ones with A' levels. Besides, my parents wanted me to get a job and pay rent so it was the YTS scheme for me. I lacked the social and cultural capital to make my dream come true.
So how did I get here, an academic working in Cambridge for the Open University? Well, my YTS placement was in a small private residential home owned by a lovely pair of best friends, a nurse and a home economist who had previous taught teenage mums, who saw in me a potential for reaching higher. Their support and influence enabled me to successfully apply for nurse training in my local hospital, which was an apprenticeship not a degree in those days. After qualifying a nurse I started an Open University module on research methodology, which then led to a degree and nurse lecturing. I now have two degrees, a Masters in Education and am currently doing a doctorate alongside teaching health and social care undergraduates.
So, I've gone from leaving school with o'levels to studying for a doctorate. Studying for a degree with the OU can change your life
Have a great year of learning.