My Gateway to HE story…

I worked in early years for 10+ years. Within my role, I supported children and their families, being able to support them gave great joy; understanding the need for these families, liaising with other professionals and being part of a plan that makes way for better life outcomes is really rewarding. Here is where my passion for having a career in a pastoral capacity was ignited.

I had wanted to take further education for some time and I had always put it off. With being a single mother of two beautiful boys, I doubted that it could be possible to fit in study with family life. However, after witnessing friends and family successfully complete a degree at an older age, I gained the confidence to take the plunge. I challenged myself and I enrolled onto the Gateway to HE: Social Studies course and really enjoyed it. Looking at how society works and the way in which it influences people’s behaviours and ways of living is really fascinating; it allows for you to look deeper into a situation and not just what is projected on the surface.

With the current Covid-19 climate, the Gateway was conducted online. At first, I was apprehensive, the idea of not sitting in class with my peers and the tutor created a sense that I may not get the desired learning I wanted to, to be able to fully engage with the course, but this was absolutely not the case. Steve Gascoigne, the tutor, was so enthusiastic about the course and the delivery was great. Any question or query I had was promptly responded to. I successfully completed the course with scores I thought I could not achieve.

Initially I was contemplating going onto the BA Social Studies Degree part-time, however, after successful completion of the Gateway, I decided to do full-time, thinking if I applied myself like I did previously, my goal of gaining a successful career within this field would come sooner. Don’t get me wrong, it is hard and at times I have questioned myself whether I am doing the right thing. That thought never lasts long though, as despite this, the amount of support available from CLL is amazing, the team really want to see us achieve, they fully understand that as mature students, we have a lot of things to juggle and they will help and guide you in any way they can.

It is unfortunate that we are having to continue studying online, however learning is still happening and discussions with classmates are taking place, which is nice. I can only imagine that when we are back on campus, our learning will be enhanced. For anybody considering going into higher education, I would say go for it. You will be surprised at how well you adapt to this new journey.

This blog was written by Chirelle Tennant, who successfully completed the Gateway to HE and is now on the full-time Social Studies degree.

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