After 17 years of working in retail, I decided that I needed a new challenge, so I quit my job and enrolled onto a Health and Social Care course at college. When I was near the end of the course, it was suggested I apply to university, which I laughed off at the time as I thought my academic time was behind me. I attended an Open Day and was impressed by the passion of the staff and the broad age range of people attending. This made me feel relieved that I wouldn't be the only older student on my course.
There are multiple great aspects of the course. The passion and knowledge of the lecturers is immense and infectious. As I walked nervously into my first lecture, not really knowing what I was getting myself into, I wasn’t sure that university was going to be right for me. An hour later, after a lecture on social problems, I knew it was. I knew it was going to be engaging and would expand on, and give credence to, my own life experiences. Another fantastic aspect is meeting so many inspiring new people; although this certainly includes the lecturers, I've been fortunate to make some great friends who I have no doubt will be part of my life for years to come.
The modules on the Health and Social Care course are fascinating and involve many different aspects of contemporary life. Highlights from each year include social problems, medicalisation, normality of the body, and global health. All modules where the knowledge of Health and Social Care students is enhanced by Sociology and Criminology students complements the learning process.
Since graduating, I have embarked on a master's degree – MSc Inequality and Society at the University of Sunderland – whilst volunteering as a researcher at a local human rights charity. I hope to start a new career in human rights or social justice once I graduate.
If I was going to give any advice to prospective students I would say engage with everyone: lecturers, support staff, library staff, security, cleaners and your fellow students. Take the time to explore the campuses and utilise every aspect of them. Read! Attend every seminar and lecture to maximise your knowledge. Attend public lectures and talks. And read some more!
My time at Sunderland has been inspiring – if I could do it all again, I wouldn’t hesitate. The University has guided me from being an average school student who managed six GCSE’s at C or above, and one A Level, to graduating as a First Class Honours student, something I wouldn’t have thought possible as a nervous new student on my first day.”
Published 18 September 2020