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Kia Tearne

How I became a better self, parent and professional through lifelong learning

Kia, 2+2 BA (Hons) Social Studies

How I decided to do the course

Going to university was always something I had considered since leaving college at the age of 18. However, I decided to get a job for a while instead while I considered my options. Then life took over and I got married and had my two children. Watching them grow up I wanted to do something which would provide them with a good life. Plus, my husband was always saying I should go to university over our many years together. But when I looked into it, I realised I had no A levels and therefore I was limited to how I was going to do this. I was told I could an access to higher education course but that would have had to be done alongside working and raising my children.

Then I discovered that the University of Warwick ran a 2+2 degree pathway at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College which provided me with access to student funding so I could give up my job and concentrate on studying. The timetable also fitted in with my children’s school hours which gave me the opportunity to learn how to write essays, develop my IT skills and explore new subjects like sociology.

What I enjoyed most from my degree is …

Going back into education after a period of twenty plus years was daunting but by doing it, I discovered a sense of confidence I never had before. I discovered that I loved learning and being able to use my new knowledge to benefit my own daily life and my husband’s and children’s. I also made some great friends who have supported me throughout the experience. The course also opened my eyes to the world, and I explored many subjects and completed tasks such as presentations which I previously would have stayed away from due to fear and a lack of understanding.

Kia in her graduation gown

Kia in her graduation robe

What I found most challenging is …

The biggest challenge I found was how much impact my personal life has on my studies. I found that I needed to be able to make sure my children were all sorted and happy before I could concentrate on my studies. This sometimes meant that I had to rearrange when I was able to study such as later in the evening and often at the weekends. My husband also provided a lot of support so I could meet my deadlines, he makes a lovely roast chicken when needed.

Kia (second from the right) celebrating her graduation with her family around her

Kia celebrating the graduation with her family

What I have gained most from studying the degree …

Studying has significantly improved my life and my family’s life. The confidence I have developed from knowing where and how to find out what information I need has allowed me to approach new situations and other professionals with ease. Whilst attending lectures with unfamiliar people has forced me out of my comfort zone but this has given me the confidence to approach new social situations with confidence. Studying has also helped me to become a better parent I now feel more equal when I am attending meeting with other professionals, and this has given me the confidence to request the support that I know my children need and would benefit from.

What am I planning to do next

Four years of university has taught me to recognise my strengths and limitations therefore, I am planning to take a year out from studying while I settle my son into high school and help to study my daughter through her GCSEs. Alongside this I am hoping to gain some practical experience in areas relating to social work as I am hoping to enrol on a postgraduate social work course in 2023.

My piece of advice for current CLL students will be…

The department of CLL is lovely never be afraid to speak to any of the tutors or other students they are all lovely and will go out their way to help.

The workload can sometimes become overwhelming make sure you take some time out to protect your own mental wellbeing.

Finally enjoy your journey, overcoming the challenges I faced helped me grow into the person I am today. Given the chance I would go back and do it all over again.