My journey to university was not the usual one of GSCE’s, AS Levels, A-Levels, and UCAS applications. I’ve always been headstrong since I was young and was always going to carve out my own path in life. But at the same time, a degree was always going to be on the cards. Nonetheless, here is what I did right at uni.
What I did right at uni – Emily Tumber
At 17 I left school, after my first year of A-Levels. I made the decision before the final term was over and distinctly remember a teacher sitting down with me, trying to convince me to stay. Her only argument was that it would cost the school money in admin fees and funding. That was not the way to convince a slightly rebellious teenager to stay.
My reasons for leaving school were not overly rebellious. I had a nice little group of friends; I was okay at schoolwork and reasonably thrived in a school environment. The reason I left was because my mental health was really suffering. I was being influenced by a singular, manipulative, and unambitious friend.
Overall, I regret leaving school when I did. After leaving school my parents made it clear that I was expected to get a job and I wanted one! I wanted to make money, I wanted to feel like an adult. Not too long after, I got a minimum wage job that I loved, but it was dead-end. After a couple of years, I realised I wanted more from life than what I had. By that point, I had developed a strong passion for psychology and mental health, so I bit the bullet.
I think my parents were over the moon when I told them I was looking at courses on the Open University’s website. This really was my only option to embark on a degree without going back to college to make up for my missed A levels. I am forever grateful that the Open University exists.
My heart was set on a Forensic Psychology Bachelor’s degree and enrolled within the week. The driving force for the somewhat impulsive actions was enthusiasm. My dreamers head was filled with ideas of being successful in forensic psychology, thinking of the money I could make, the certificates on the wall in my own office, the differences I could make to the lives of dangerous criminals and the system in general.
It was this same enthusiasm that got me through six years of distanced study with the Open University. When my motivation would ebb, as it often does for me, I was encouraged by the same images in my head. The idea of being able to walk into Broadmoor and work with dangerous individuals, if anyone could help them and make them change for the better it was me! This bold but naïve mindset was what got me through last-minute essay writing, looming deadlines, and balancing studying and working full time.
To this day, I would certainly never tell anyone that I gained my bachelor’s degree and now (almost) my master’s degree through brainpower and hard work alone. I have never considered myself particularly intelligent, I wasn’t a straight-A student at school, I struggled with subjects and had to work harder than most of my friends to see the same results. What I did have though, what I have always had in abundance, is enthusiasm. I am naturally a dreamer and if I can dream it, I can do it! And you best believe that you can too!