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AliName: Alison
Course: BA Health and Social Policy [Part-time]

Before I became a part-time health and social policy student, I worked for NHS Warwickshire as a Health Promotion Specialist. I studied for a degree at Warwick as a mature student on a part-time basis whilst juggling work commitments and looking after my children. I am a person from a widening participation background, the first person in my family to study at Higher Education level.

I can identify two significant influences which were the catalyst for motivating me to apply to study at the University of Warwick through the Centre for Life Long Learning. My interest in learning was re-ignited whilst studying for a Counselling Certificate. I enjoyed learning about theories and exploring skills and values such as active listening, unconditional positive regard, empathy and most importantly, reflection. During the course my tutor led an activity requiring self-reflection, prompting me to think and reflect upon myself. He gave me a blank sheet of A4 paper with an instruction to fill the page, at the top of the page were the prompt words “Alison is a person who…..”. Given the time and opportunity to really reflect, I wrote about the fact that I left school at 16, my friends all went to university and I went straight into work at Jaguar Cars. Had my circumstances been different, I wondered could I have gone to university and would I have been successful? (No one in my family had ever been to university before).

By coincidence, whilst studying for the Counselling Certificate, I also began to read the book “Feel the fear and do it anyway” by Susan Jeffers. In this inspirational book, Jeffers outlines techniques for turning fear and indecision into power and action. The timing was perfect, her words were the driving force prompting me to apply to study for a degree at the University of Warwick giving me the courage and confidence to overcome my fears.

My experience of studying with CLL was challenging and yet rewarding. My first memory was a discussion with a friendly member of staff in CLL. She explained that I would be able to transfer some CATS points from approved prior learning, which would go towards my degree. This incentive gave me the additional motivation to get started.

I really enjoyed studying Health and Social Policy, the modules were delivered by the Sociology Department. It was fascinating. The module content and the tutors stretched me and opened my eyes and mind. I began to see life through a Sociological lens. As I gained more knowledge, it prompted me to question and challenge ‘power and control’ influences in society, discovering a new-found awareness of how they impacted upon my own life.

I now work as a Job Search Adviser within the Student Opportunity department at Warwick. I provide support for undergraduate and postgraduate students and Warwick alumni, to pursue their own informed career choices, specifically by exploring how to prepare, apply and succeed in the recruitment and selection process. In 2018, I was thrilled to be awarded Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

If I could give any advice to current students, it would be...

Get to know your own strengths and draw upon them. They will energise you to help keep you on track and achieve your goals.