Dedicated mature student reaps the educational rewards

Dedicated mature student reaps the educational rewards Banner Image

New BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology graduate Jacqui Flynn.

Jacqui Flynn overcomes learning difficulty and spinal surgery to graduate with a First

A mature student who was diagnosed with a learning difficulty and who needed vital surgery while studying abroad has celebrated graduating with a First-Class degree from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

During her time on the BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology, Jacqui Flynn was assessed and diagnosed with a specific learning difficulty, similar to dyslexia. 

The 38-year-old, from Withnell, said: “I struggled with reading information during lectures and keeping up with the work. I went to the support team who gave me an assessment and diagnosed me. I am forgetful, I confuse work and can struggle to process information when I read. It means I have to read in small sections and go over everything several times, it is very time consuming. UCLan gave me a support tutor who assisted my draft work and I was given extra time in my exams which was a big help.”

In the second year of her course, Jacqui also undertook a year abroad at UCLan’s Cyprus Campus. It was while she was enjoying the smaller class sizes and sunny downtime that she needed to undergo spinal surgery.

She said: “I wanted to experience studying abroad so I jumped at the chance. Going on my own was a massive personal step but I quickly got to know my two flatmates, who were from the Ukraine. We taught each other about our different cultures. I made the girls an English cooked breakfast which they had never tried, and they loved it.

I’m absolutely beaming and so proud of myself. I still cannot believe I gained a First-Class honours degree after avoiding further and higher education due to poor results at my first college back in 1999

“The accommodation, which was next door to the University, was very luxurious. We each had a balcony and it had a pool. The library printers and computers were the same as in Preston and there were societies and events to get involved in too. The lecturers were friendly and really supportive, and the Cypriot students were very welcoming, always smiling and very enthusiastic. As the weather was so good it meant we would sit out on our balcony, go for a walk and regularly hit the beach. I would definitely recommend studying abroad to any student as being away from the norm definitely changes you for the better.”

Jacqui’s back problem meant she had to miss some of her lectures and deadlines but after her operation she flew back home and completed her studies during the summer holiday.

She added: “I’m absolutely beaming and so proud of myself. I still cannot believe I gained a First-Class honours degree after avoiding further and higher education due to poor results at my first college back in 1999.

“As a mature student, who hadn’t studied for more than 10 years, I took advantage of the academic support. It is difficult coming back to studying and learning how to write essays and do presentations after many years of being away from it. I’ve just proven it is never too late and anything is possible when you put your mind to it.”

In September, the keen mountain biker and hiker will enrol on the Master’s in Sport Psychology in the hope of becoming a sport psychologist.

Rachel Atkinson | 24 July 2019