Alicia Bonito decided to return to study after realising the omission of a degree was always a factor when she was offered a job. In this blog, she discusses the Gateway to HE and how it has equipped her with the skills to take on studying the part-time degree in Social Studies.
Like many others on the Gateway to Higher Education course, I had been away from education for a number of years and the prospect of returning to essay writing, reading and homework was daunting and I did feel a fair amount of trepidation I must say. To address this, I met a member of the Centre for Lifelong Learning Team to chat about what the course was like and she recommended that I apply and talk to Steve Gascoigne, the Gateway tutor. This was last winter, and I actually met Steve the day of the department Christmas lunch. He was sporting a Christmas Jumper and I wondered if this may have influenced his level of jolliness when I met him. We had a great chat about the breadth of people that have taken Gateway and progressed onto degrees at the University and I felt invigorated and excited about the prospect of returning to study in 2020.
I studied up until completing my A levels in 2014 and I didn’t feel as though I knew what I would like to study further at that point, therefore I took a gap year intending to try some new things which might help in deciding what to study. That was the plan, what actually happened was that I firstly gained a part-time job at Waitrose and then went about applying for internships and work experience in London, where I was living at the time. I ended up being called for an interview for the internships at Cancer Research UK and was offered a work placement at the charity working in community fundraising. I gained so much experience and confidence from working at the charity that when a role in another team came up I applied and got the position. This appointment displaced my plans to go to university as I felt that I could get where I wanted to be without further study. I was promoted at the charity and then moved organisation a few times and the omission of a degree was always a factor when I was offered a position. This led me to consider Gateway more seriously, and I also felt I had an underlying desire to study further. I studied sociology at A level and this was the subject I was most interested in and seem to do well in grade wise. My aptitude and interest in sociology meant that the topics studied during Gateway were fascinating and it completely changed my perspective on things like food, medicine, the workplace and others! I felt fully supported by Steve throughout the course (and his jolliness extended beyond Christmas) and enjoyed receiving comments and feedback on my essays which really helped to build my confidence in writing again. The Gateway course challenged me, but in a progressive way so I always felt like I was improving week on week which was really encouraging.
Since completing the Gateway in the summer I have progressed to the part time BA Social Studies at Warwick and I can see how the Gateway experience has created valuable habits which I am now applying to degree study. I would encourage anyone thinking about picking up studying again to take the Gateway course at Warwick. It really provides you with an inventory of skills which you will use on the degree, but they can also be applied to your personal and professional life.