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"It’s like a family, we're all there to support each other and we genuinely care about each other, which is so lovely.  What I like about University Centre Shrewsbury is the fact that it is very welcoming. I feel like I belong here"

Multi-tasker extraordinaire, Gaynor, started her university degree with four children and a full-time job. 

Even with four children at home, ages 3-19, and a full-time job, Gaynor returned to school at the Shrewsbury Colleges Group (SCG) and received her Humanities Diploma at the age of 37.  With new confidence in her academic abilities and encouragement from her tutors, Gaynor found herself in a position she never thought she would be: applying to university. 

“I had never dreamed of going to university as it was somewhere that clever people went. My societal norms were to leave school, get a job, get married and have children. I lived up to those expectations.”

Having discovered a passion for literature at SCG, Gaynor chose to study English at University Centre Shrewsbury because of its high academic standards and close proximity to her home. 

“It was nerve wracking to begin with! I thought I would be in a room of 19 year old students and feel out of place. Actually, the first few months of university I did look like a lost rabbit and I sat there with my head in my hands thinking, ‘What am I doing?’ But as time progressed and with the support that I gained from my peers and lecturers, I grew to love it.

It’s like a family, we're all there to support each other and we genuinely care about each other, which is so lovely.  What I like about the University Centre Shrewsbury is the fact that it is very welcoming. I feel like I belong here. 

My cohort is a mixture of students from 19 to 50.  We’ve all grown individually - not just the younger students, the mature students as well. And, we’ve done this together. Studying English literature isn’t just about reading books. It isn’t just about analysing different texts. It is about social issues; it is about history. Talking through these social issues with different age groups, with different backgrounds, is really an eye-opener. I’ve learnt so much about myself through the process as well as the academic education. Before uni, I never thought that I would achieve something as big as this.

It has been very difficult – balancing my family and work and the degree, but it has been the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. To get an essay question, then sit down and create this piece of magic, and then get a good grade back is just phenomenal. But more than that, it’s the feedback from the lecturers that says your piece is original and they enjoyed reading it - that is what I love.

All the hard work, all the challenges I have been through – 100 percent it’s been worth it.  I am very much looking forward to standing in St. Chad’s in my hat and cape, with my friends and family supporting me, and receiving my degree.  What an amazing feeling to know that you’ve done it.”

Gaynor has again found herself in a position she couldn’t have imagined four years ago:  “Next year I will be studying for a Masters of Research in Literature.  After that, I hope to get my PhD.”