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

Single Mummy Student, by Lyndsey Sloan

Back in 1990 when I was in High School (and a fan of the cult show Twin Peaks) I set my sights to become a Forensic Pathologist. From the age of 14 however, when I discovered dancing and going to clubs, my school studies got pushed to the side and I left school with no GCSEs. I really let myself down and I lost my dream of going to University.

I threw myself into employment; working in a restaurant and various retail positions until I began a training school in a Casino. I worked my way up from Trainee Croupier to Casino Manager within 5 years (which was a great career considering I had no formal qualifications). Marriage and 2 babies followed from 2009. Then my world came crashing down in 2011.

In 2011 I lost my mum very suddenly to cancer. I had a breakdown and had a few months off work. Then in 2014 my marriage was over, and I had to start a new life as a single parent. I could no longer do the job I loved as it was not ‘family friendly hours’ so I had to give up my career and take on low paid jobs to pay the bills and get by.

One of my best friends graduated in 2015 (as a mature student) and that planted the seed in my head. I COULD DO THAT…

So, it took me 3 more years to persuade myself, and I finally found Go Higher at University of Liverpool. I applied online (Debbie is so very helpful in the Go Higher office, she helped me a lot when I was unsure how to complete the form- my nerves!). I was thrilled to then receive an invitation for an interview and entry test (just Maths and English, nothing to worry about).

Two weeks later, I received the amazing news that I had been accepted onto Go Higher. I opened the email and cried my eyes out (this was on way home from shopping!) yet they were happy tears, and this was me taking the first step to a whole new world of learning and making a better life for me and my young daughters.

I learnt so much on Go Higher, I pushed myself to the limits to stand up and speak in front of my fellow students and tutors. I learnt how to conduct a debate in my Philosophy group (I chose Philosophy as my subject in Stage 3 of the course; I didn’t even know what Philosophy was until Go Higher!). The tutors are all very welcoming and (obviously) so very intelligent and are very patient to us mature student learners who are all new to this experience. You can always email your tutors for any help you may need, in-between your Wednesday on Campus, they are always there for you!

I am sad my Go Higher experience is over; however, I am very proud of myself that I passed the course with 65%, which has enabled me entry onto my chosen degree at University of Liverpool. Next month I begin my undergraduate life, studying Criminology and Social Policy and I am so very excited for the future. Go Higher has given me all the tools I need to begin my degree.

I was so proud to take my children to the Go Higher celebration evening in July 2019 and meet my tutors and fellow students (this has even persuaded my 8-year-old that she wants to go to University when she is older!).

My daughter asked me, “Mum, what do you want to be when you grow up?”, and at the age of 40-years old I still don’t know, but I am finally fulfilling my dream of going to University!!!!!

Thank you all at Go Higher!!!!!! You have helped me change my life xx

4 thoughts on “Single Mummy Student, by Lyndsey Sloan

  1. What a brave woman you are! I applaud you. You serve as a great source of inspiration to those who are fearful and deterred to push forward in relation to their careers. You have truly demonstrated nothing is above and beyond impossible! Wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

  2. Hello Lyndsey
    I imagine you’ve now graduated
    Hope you enjoyed studying as an undergraduate as much as your Go Higher studies
    Is it possible to study a joint degree as in criminology with social policy or philosophy with another subject for example as I was under the impression it was purely criminology or philosophy for example

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