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Case Study

Stacey Gordon

Sunderland, UK

BA (Hons) Childhood Studies

Stacey Gordon was feeling lost working in her retail job, so decided to pursue her desire to work with children by studying for a degree. Unsure of the exact career path she wanted to take, she enrolled on the BA (Hons) Childhood Studies course with the hopes of possibly forging a career in education in the future. The course has helped her realise which areas she’s passionate about, and she recently graduated with First Class Honours.

I’d moved down to Sunderland from Scotland for work, and I was feeling a little lost about what I wanted to do career-wise. I knew I loved working with children but didn’t know exactly what I wanted or could be capable of, so I set my sights on the BA (Hons) Childhood Studies degree in the hope of finding my dream job. I completed an Access to Higher Education course at Newcastle College for a year, which allowed me to meet the entry requirements for university. It took a lot of confidence to step back into education after so long, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

I had a friend who’d previously studied at the University of Sunderland, and they spoke highly about how much support you receive during your time there. This appealed to me as both a mature student and a mum as it was a daunting prospect to go back into full-time education. Knowing I could seek help and advice from the likes of lecturers, library staff, and wellbeing services made me feel more comfortable.

The Childhood Studies course helped me find a sense of belonging, as I found the area I was passionate about, wanted to work in, and could achieve a lot from. From day one, the academic staff were really supportive and took an interest in my life beyond university, which made me feel comfortable enough to go to them for advice when I needed it. They always provided great book recommendations and were a huge part of my journey, believing in me and pushing me to achieve my full potential, which I’ll always be grateful for.

The modules were always interesting, and the assignments pushed me to put together all the knowledge I was gaining. I made some great friends during the three years, who become a strong support network during those times I felt overloaded with work. We’d always help to pull each other through and remind ourselves we all have days where we struggle.

Since graduating, I’ve remained in my retail management job, but I’m now also the wellbeing champion for over 500 people thanks to the knowledge I gained from my degree. I’m also focusing on volunteer work with a children’s charity to gain more practical experience and hopefully progress into my dream career in education, where I can make a difference for all children.

My time at the University was a very positive experience, so my advice to anyone considering studying here is to go for it! Interact with the other students on your course, as talking to your peers can be the best way to clear your mind. Use each other’s strengths and bounce ideas off each other, and always go to the lecturers if you need advice, as they’re more than happy to help. Also make sure you take advantage of any resources provided, especially the library.

Studying at Sunderland has helped me gain confidence both as a person and as a mum. I met some great friends and professionals that will forever have an impact on me. Graduation day was absolutely wonderful, and I felt so proud of myself.”

Published 14 February 2024

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