Mature Student, Alison, talks about her journey

Alison Hammond explains how a foundation degree opened up her world and why it is never too late to return to studying.

'My journey towards university has been a long time coming. I dropped out of school at 17 and never took A Levels. I always felt I had let my parents down as they had encouraged myself and siblings to complete education. As the years passed, I regretted my decision and secretly yearned to get a degree but felt that without A Levels the path was not open to me. At 40 years old I did an evening class for English Language but, as a single parent with 4 children, I didn't do very well.

So, I gave up on the idea thinking I would never achieve enough A levels to gain a University place. Later, I was doing a Level 3 in Working with Children and Young people for my role in Childcare and one of the tutors encouraged me to think about a Foundation degree which I didn't really know anything about.

UCLan student Alison Hammond
UCLan student Alison Hammond

"I wasn't ready at 18 years old, but I think I am proof that it is never too late to start. I spent too long worrying what everyone else would think about my age, but the truth is UCLan is extremely inclusive, and it has never been a problem."

Alison Hammond, BA (Hons) English Literature & Creative Writing, Foundation Entry

Once I realised there was a way, I started to gather momentum towards eventually coming to UCLan. I say eventually because I still hesitated, delayed, and deferred before I finally began the course in 2019.

At this point I was 55 years old, and to begin with, I was overwhelmed by so many people and just how clever everyone else was. I expected I would quit after a few weeks, but I quickly met some lovely classmates and we soon understood there was wisdom to share. I have made good friends with young and older.

I have done things I would never have imagined myself doing; Presentations, Group work, and in my second year I was a successful PASS Leader, a role which I got so many new skills from and lots of new confidence. I am now thinking of Teaching as a possible next step which is something I never would have considered within my capabilities previously.’