Access course helps young mum achieve her dreams
A young mum is hoping more adults will follow her example and return to learning to help them get on in life.
Samantha McEvoy-Love, aged 23 from Newcastle, is a married mum of three, who is studying the Access to Higher Education course at Newcastle-under-Lyme College's (NULC) purpose-built University Centre.
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The former St. Peters C of E High School pupil was unsure of what to do with her life, before one day deciding that in order to provide the best for her family, she should return to education and get the qualifications needed to achieve her dream of becoming a primary school teacher.
Samantha started the course at a difficult time in her life but has not regretted taking the plunge back in to education. Samantha says: "When I began the Access course I was six months pregnant and on crutches. The support from the College has been second to none. I'm given financial help each month through the bursary scheme which goes towards meals at college and equipment for my course, which is a great help and takes the pressure off, so I can focus on my studies."
She continues: "My personal tutor, Maz Gardner, is so supportive, as are the rest of the staff on the course. They bend over backwards to ensure we're all getting the best we can from the course and go out of their way to provide extra support and tuition. All the staff are fantastic people and most of them came to their teaching positions through studying an Access course. They're on our level and teach us as equals."
Samantha explains what made her choose to study an Access course at NULC. "NULC has the best reputation in the area; it's got state-of-the-art facilities and such a welcoming atmosphere. I visited a number of local colleges and made a decision based on past success rates and the progression opportunities offered to students."
Reflecting on starting a course whilst pregnant Samantha says: "I'll admit, it wasn't as easy as I initially thought, balancing a newborn baby with college work. However, I've received immense amounts of support from my husband, my family and the staff at the college. At times, when I thought I wasn't capable of achieving anything, simple words of encouragement have spurred me on. I now realise I'm so lucky and I'm extremely grateful for all the encouragement and support I've received."
Since starting at NULC in September 2011, Samantha has been an active member of the student body. She is a student rep, representing the student voice at conferences and meetings. She attends open days where she chats to prospective students and is even helping to organise the College's Community Games, an Olympic-themed fun day aimed at members of the community, taking place at the end of June.
When asked what inspired her to be such an active member of the College, Samantha says: "What the college has done for me! The staff here have made such a massive impact on my life and have helped me to start making a massive difference in my family's life too."
Speaking of the future, Samantha has high hopes once she completes her studies at NULC and now realises her potential to have a successful career. "After college I'm attending Manchester Metropolitan University to do a degree in Early Years Childhood Studies before completing a PGCE. Once I've finished university, I hope to start a career as a primary school teacher and then progress into special needs education."
Samantha says she would definitely recommend an Access course to other local parents who want to progress in to Higher Education. "I'd certainly recommend the course and the College. It's second to none, has amazing facilities, supportive staff and a friendly atmosphere. The course and the College have helped me to start the rest of my life."
Explaining what keeps her motivated, Samantha says: "My children! I want to be a mum who can take them on good holidays and do fun things in the holidays without worrying about my bank balance. I don't want to spoil them but I want the chance to be able to treat them to the good things in life that they deserve. I'd like to encourage others to do the same. Many people with children are sat at home wanting to change their lives and better themselves but don't know how to go about it. I want people to look at me and think if she can do it, then so can I."
The College is running a Pre-Access Study Skills courses in May for anyone interested in studying the full-time Access to HE course from September 2012. To find out more and enrol on the next available course, please contact the Information Point on 01782 254254, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nulc.ac.uk/he