With the support of the University’s staff, Claire had enough flexibility to get through the degree. Initially intending to stay on to get her BA at the end of third year, she decided to stay on for her Honours year, completing a dissertation in additional support needs support in early years setting, comparing Scotland to the United States.
For Claire, university has provided her with a focus outside of her home and given her the skills and knowledge to better support her family, which she says has been a real benefit for all of them.
She said: “Going to university has given me the tools to stay strong and get through this. I’ve learned so much at uni too that has helped my own family in terms of how to support them and their development. Things that I never knew about – how to handle the children, reinforcing good behaviour; there are so many strategies that I use at home – it’s not just about using it in the workplace.”
Having graduated from the BA (Hons) in Childhood Studies in July, Claire is now getting ready to take her education to the next level, having been accepted on to UWS’s Masters in Psychology. She hopes to use the course to get into counselling, specifically working with families and children with additional support needs.
Returning to education was not something that Claire pictured herself doing four years ago, but she says that the experience has been transformational. It has not only broadened her horizons academically but provided her with new friends and a support network – and she says it’s never too late for a change of path.
She added: “There are loads of people in dead-end jobs where they’re miserable and unhappy. Life is too short, as we’ve seen with this virus. You could be out there doing something you love, something that matters, something that makes a difference.”