Whatever you’ve been doing since you left school, the chances are that you’ve learnt a lot without even realising it.
Things like previous work experience, or raising a family make for a good foundation. Valuable skills such as organisation, money management and self-discipline definitely help if you’re thinking of starting a college course.
We spoke to HND Administration and IT student, Lynnette Fisher, age 42 from Prestwick, to find out more about her journey through Ayrshire College as a mature student.
“I was living in New Zealand for 6 years with my family, but following a split from my husband, we decided to move back home to the UK.
It was at that point I thought to myself, I’m on my own now, and as a mum of three children, I need to support them. Having lived abroad, I didn’t really have any contacts so coming back to college really helped me build up a network again.
I initially started with Level 5 Administration and IT. I had originally planned just to do this, to gain enough skills to get a job, but I found that I really enjoyed the course, and fast-tracked Level 5 and level 6 in one year.
Since then, I have done the HNC and am now almost finished the HND level. I’ve loved it so much that I am going on to the third year of a Business Management degree at SRUC in September.”
Why study Administration and IT?
“I had never worked in Administration and IT before coming to college. I left school and worked in a local factory in Irvine, and I did that until we moved to New Zealand.
I think the whole process of moving to New Zealand; applying for visas, organising moving our whole lives to the other side of the world, selling our house – there was a lot of admin involved in such a big move.
I found that I really enjoyed the organising side of things, so when I was thinking what will I do at college, what are my strengths? Administration and IT seemed the perfect fit for me.”
How did you feel on your first day at college?
“When I first started the course I felt I was totally clueless. In fact, I was so nervous that I even considered eating my lunch in my car as I thought there would be no one else around my age to spend time with.
I needn’t have worried though, I’ve met great people, and we all help each other out.”
Did you get any support at the College?
“As a single parent, I wanted to make sure that going to college would be affordable and I received really good funding advice from Student Services. They were really helpful, and made sure that I knew about everything I was entitled to in terms of funding. It all helped to make coming to college easier, especially when I have a young family. ”
What advice would you give to another mature student?
“You should absolutely go for it. Don’t be scared because you’re a mature student. I’ve just encouraged my friend to come to college too. I can’t emphasise enough how great it has been.
I’ve got a lot of working years ahead of me and I want to do something that I really enjoy. The support and encouragement I’ve had from the lecturers has been fantastic. They have been amazing and have helped me realise that there are so many opportunities out there.
I feel like coming to college has been the making of me. My confidence was really low before I started the course, but I now know that I can do this! I have a different mind-set.
I’m really sad to leave the college, but looking forward to the next chapter in my life. The sky’s the limit!”
Apply now for Business and Computing courses, starting in August 2018.