Sunday, 30 April 2017

The end of a journey and the beginning of a new one...

It's been such a long journey. A long rollercoaster ride. With emotional ups and downs, highs and lows. It has been fast, it has been hard, sometimes long.

If you follow this blog you will know that I started out at the Open University. I had a young child, was getting married and buying a house. I had this recurring dream that I went back to university. The dream haunted me - in it I am chasing a Professor down a corridor, desperate to hand in my final assignment, but in the dream the Professor won't see me, and I don't get my degree. The dream got stronger, more convoluted and it was happening more often.

So I signed up with the OU. Best thing I ever did. Through the OU I found that I had so much to offer - I knew that I could do whatever I put my mind to. I was terrified of speaking out in class at first, but I made myself do it, and I knew that the more I did it, the stronger I would become. I got married, we moved house, we had Alice. I changed jobs. All the while, working for my degree with the OU. Growing stronger. Learning.  Knowing that there was so much more out there for me, so much to learn, new experiences, new people to meet, new ways to make an impact. By the time we had Rosie I was in my second to last year. I graduated in 2015 with my first class. Kids, happy and loved, age 11, 3 and 2. I was so proud of what I had achieved.


But I knew I wanted more. My confidence was still low, I wasn't ready to not be a student. So much more to learn. So I emailed one of the lecturers at Liverpool University, asking about the MA there. She was really great and responded letting me know about contact time, and possible hours and fees. I decided to do it.

Fast forward two years and I've changed. I have grown so much with this MA - I has decided on a dissertation topic - left wing activism in the 70s - and realised that I could make a bigger contribution with a PhD. I knew I could do it, and I knew I was ready. Once again, I contacted the same lecturer and together (with two other amazing academics), we designed the PhD and applied for funding.

It took about a year to get the application together. A full proposal with methodologies, frameworks, existing literature review. I pained over it. We knew the competition would be stiff, and I kept messaging my friend asking her how she was doing, we were both nervous and anxious. So much hard work.

We both heard within a couple of weeks of each other that we were successful.

I can't really express what this means to me in words. I will be starting a fully funded PhD in October. I will be leaving my job, and my kids will all be in full time school. We will all have our own "projects" to focus on, and mine is one that I have worked on and worked for for a number of years.

So now, delighted, exhausted, fired-up and ready - this is where the blog about my journey as a student ends. This is the beginning of a new chapter for me. Of course I have a lot of hard work ahead of me - I want to get involved in teaching, research, writing papers, presenting at conferences - everything I wanted.

And so a new chapter in my life begins.

Thanks for being there with me.

6 comments:

  1. Just absolutely fabulous, you've worked SO HARD and achieved your goal, well done. x

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  2. Awww, you'll always be a student Kerrie, you know you soak it up. That'll not stop just because you spend most of your time the other side of the table.
    You deserve to be really proud of yourself, you are an awesome example to everyone, including your girls. Well done xx

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  3. You never stop learning Kerrie and I really hope you will be an inspiration to many other people who think they can't or they won't. What an amazing story. I think it should be made into a play-it's just a shame you are too young to have Julie Walters play you ;)

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  4. Wow Kerrie, awesome news. Well flippin done!!!! Xx

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  5. Kerrie, I have followed you since you were on year 2 of your degree course and I was on year 1 of the same course - you provided so much inspiration to me. I am so pleased for you that you are breaking down barriers and showing the world what you are made of. I got my degree too and am now a teacher so I too cannot describe how much the OU changes lives and inspires us. Keep going.

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