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Karen B

Name: Karenjulie
Course: Gateway to HE and BA(Hons) Social Studies [full-time]

I started my Warwick Journey in the spring of 2016 when I began the Gateway course. Full of nerves and a little unsure of what to expect. Gateway was delivered expertly by Steve Gascoigne, and everyone on the course was just so friendly. Within no time it was like we had known each other forever. We helped each other navigate our way through the 12-week intensive course, designed to give us the skills we needed to be able to cope doing a degree course at Warwick.

After completing and passing the assignments necessary, I was accepted as a full-time Social Studies student. My first year went quite quickly if I am honest and I enjoyed being a student. Unfortunately, family pressures forced me to withdraw from Warwick at the start of year 2. However, after 18 months I decided that the time was right to return and complete what I had started.

I decided to major in sociology when I returned and chose mainly Sociology modules in my second and final year at Warwick. Whilst I found the sociology modules challenging, I must admit that my favourite module was the CLL Food Module I took in my final year. I highly recommend this module and it will change how you view the food you eat and the socio-politics around food. Reading a book about food waste has literally made me think about what us consumers are told about food sustainability and who is really to blame for the food that is wasted.

Anyway, I have to say that finishing my degree in the middle of a pandemic was tough, very stressful and yet left me feeling very proud of my achievement. In the face of much adversity, lectures and seminars being delivered online and not in person, missing my other student buddies like crazy; I still managed to get a 2:1. As I type this, I am still feeling on cloud nine and I feel excited for what opportunities my degree may open to me.

I always told myself that I want to make a difference with my degree, and I know that sounds cliché, because who doesn’t want to make an impact on society. I have so far applied for a graduate-level Civil Service job with the Criminal Case Review Commission. I also intend to apply to the Civil Service fast track and for the 1+3 (combined masters/PhD course) in September. My dissertation supervisor believes that I have it in me to take my education further.

At the start of my journey, I was nervous and did not know how I would do at university, after 22 years out of education. However, the excellent tuition, fantastic feedback, and guidance, and the faith that those who taught me at Warwick all had in my ability; has pushed me along and got me through. To anyone reading this who is unsure about taking the plunge back into education, do it because it will really open your mind and the feeling of achievement is immense. I don’t know for definite where I will end up, but the prospects with a degree from Warwick look much brighter.