Accessing education when you are not 18

My name is Barry, I’m 54 years old (2019), and if I were to describe myself the first thing I would say is ‘I am not academic’, but I have just achieved a 2:1 in History and Applied Sociology at the University of Suffolk.

No member of my family has a degree, so I did not have high hopes before I stated mine. From before I left school I knew the sixth form and further education was not for me, and I accepted that.

A friend of mine said why not do the Access course, what have you to lose?  I thought I would be the oldest by far in the group, and would fail, but I was so wrong.

That was not the first time I was wrong, the tutors were very encouraging and supportive at the University of Suffolk. During the access course I started to become addicted to learning and really enjoyed it, so much that I stayed on and did my degree. I was waiting to fall at each stage and waiting for the tutors to tell me my work was not good enough.

As a mature student I had real concerns about doing a degree, I had always thought a degree was for the young brain boxes of this world, not for the likes of me and I had accepted that, until I met the other mature students in my class and the tutors at the University of Suffolk, I couldn’t have more wrong, and now I have a whole new kind of future in front of me.

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