Majah Clodel Collantes: Access to Education
Progression: Edge Hill University | Primary Education with Mathematics BA
Before the Access programme, I was a full-time homemaker: a wife and mother to two young children. I put my flourishing career on hold to focus on my family. For the past 8 years I had been pondering on what to do once my children grow had grown up and what I would be in 5 or 10-years’ time.
My husband encouraged me to return to study. At first, I was hesitant, as I felt insecure about my age to returning to learning. I was also unsure if I had the qualification to even access any educational programmes in the UK, as I was an immigrant. I had a degree, which I earned abroad, yet I was unsure if it was comparable or acceptable here. Moreover, I was also doubtful whether I could adapt (or not) to the British system of education as English was not my first language. Additionally, as I have been out of formal education for over 10 years, I was thinking about the drastic changes returning to education would make. Would these changes affect my family? However, I was yearning to progress and succeed, both personally and professionally.
When I finally decided to return to education and apply at Southport College, I was not expecting my application to be considered. The admission team were very welcoming and encouraging. They advised me to enrol on the Pre-Access programme (GCSE) to gain the relevant qualification to progress onto an Access course and then to university. They were very accommodating and inspiring.
The Pre-Access year fully prepared me for GCSE examinations. More significantly, the tutors were outstanding. They not only helped me pass my GCSE exams but also encouraged me to embrace my strengths, improve my confidence and improved my academic ability.
Before I started the Access programme, I was anxious about the commitment, as I knew it would be an extremely demanding year. I juggled family commitments, childcare, meeting the demands of assignments, achieving the relevant UCAS points, and being accepted into university. Moreover, I was aware how competitive university applications are. The pressure was overwhelming even before I started. However, I was determined to succeed, and I never allowed negative thoughts to overpower me. I considered it as preparation for a graduate job and constantly reminded myself why I was doing this.
The Access programme was challenging, not because it was hard but because of time constrictions (a full level 3 programme in nine months). It was fast-paced yet achievable. You are guided and supported extremely well, taught how to achieve the best possible grades and achieve your academic potential. Significantly, the Education tutors Lindsey Sutton (Education Studies and Pastoral Leader), Marc Evans (Psychology) and Dominique Fuentes (English Literature) went beyond in extending help beyond their call of duty. They have been instrumental to my success in the programme. Without their guidance and motivation, pursuing this programme would not have been possible.
Moreover, the extra support like the Child Care Funding was very helpful in ensuring I got the most out of my studies without worrying about school runs and extra expenses. This financial assistance was very advantageous as it helped me focus on my studies with fewer distractions. Additionally, the proofreading service was very beneficial especially as English was not my first language. It helped improve my academic writing and increased my quality, communication and presentation grades.
My Access journey had been very inspiring and rewarding. This journey has fostered my positive attitude to learning: adaptability, high expectations and resilience; improved my self-esteem and enhanced my transferrable skills. It has helped me significantly with my written communication skills, especially with grammar. I have not only grown personally, but I am primed for the next stage of my journey: the higher education journey. With hard-work, determination, persistence and commitment, as well as with the remarkable support of my tutors, LLC1 staff and the whole college, I have progressed to higher education, earned a place at Edge Hill University and will be pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Primary Education with Mathematics in September.
Finally, as one of the recipients of the Student of the Year Award, I strongly encourage you to believe and trust in yourself. I DID it so SO CAN YOU! Do not let anyone or anything stop you from achieving your goals. Great things come from small beginnings. Little steps count and make your dreams a reality. Keep moving forward!