Take a breath and go for it, don’t be disheartened or held back by age or self-doubt.
I left school at 16 with GCSEs and went straight onto an apprenticeship. I was a dental nurse for 16 years. 13 years ago, my husband (who is an ex London Fireman) and I started up our own business Franklins Training Services. We started off delivering fire safety training and we now employ and work with a team of over 20 staff and deliver training to over 400 clients. We have our own offices in Elmstead Market and I am really proud of what we have achieved. I have 2 boys who are now 26 and 23 years old who work in the business, as well as 2 grown-up stepchildren who between them have given us 6 grandchildren. I love spending time with my family and friends, I go horse riding when I have the time and I am studying psychology. I read a lot and if it’s not a murder mystery/thriller then it’s a book on psychology.
Why did you pick your course and how are you finding it?
I have always been fascinated by psychology and hopefully when I have completed my CertCE in Psychology I will be accepted to go onto do my BSc Honours in Psychology with the University of Essex Online. I needed an online course as running the business does take up a lot of my time. I looked into the different options and their course was well explained and the information given by the team was very straight forward and easy to understand. The course is amazing, it isn’t easy and you need to be focused and make time to read the literature and complete your modules but it has ignited a passion for learning that I had forgotten I had. It is important that you learn how to manage your time and ensure you make the most of any study time you get. The course is well structured and the online forum is easy to use. There is a lot of ongoing support so if you are unsure of something you can always contact either your Student Support team or your tutor. You are never made to feel that any question is silly, being new to study and being older I was worried that I would look daft and ask silly questions but not once have any of the team made me feel that way.
How are you planning on using your course once you have finished?
I would like to eventually work in psychodynamics and be able to have my own business offering this service to businesses and individuals.
What would you say to someone thinking about taking your course?
Do it! Don’t hesitate, just take a breath and complete the form….. you will not regret it. There is so much support from the team at the University of Essex Online. They are on hand all the way through the process of applying for your course, the funding options available and they support you as you go along. I was hesitant and put off doing this for years as I doubted my ability and didn’t feel confident enough but now I wish I had taken the leap years ago. The course is well structured and tutors are available to assist you as you move through the different modules. For me at 45 who doubted that my brain was still capable of learning it really has given me a sense of purpose and shown me that it doesn’t matter how old you are if you want to learn a new skill or a new subject it is never too late.
Who inspires you and who would you like to inspire?
So many people inspire me. My husband as he is so supportive and he encourages me to be the person I want to be and who never complains when I wave yet another essay under his nose and ask him to proofread it for me. My children who tell me how proud they are every time I complete another module. My dad who died suddenly 3 years ago who always ‘just got on with it’ and taught me to never be afraid to speak your mind and go for what you believe in. My mother in law who at the grand age of 91 still has a better social life than people half her age (me included). She has lived through being evacuated in the war, bought up 3 children on her own and is probably one of the brightest and most intelligent women I know. Only last month she completed a tour of Arsenal Football Club’s stadium. She is the original definition of an independent woman! Her zest for life is inspiring.
The singer Debbie Harry who at the grand age of 72 can still command a stage. Margaret Thatcher (controversial, I know) but what a woman. Truly a woman living and working in a mans’ world. Emmeline Pankhurst who fought for the rights that we take for granted today. Marie Curie who said “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood” – very apt when studying psychology. My stepdaughter Jenny who went back to studying at the age of 34 and is now a qualified midwife – a real example of what you can achieve by going back to studying.
I would like to inspire anyone who is contemplating further education and doubts themselves because of their age or standard of education or maybe they have been at home raising a family and now want to do something for themselves. Do not make age an excuse or a barrier to going back to studying.
What would be your message to inspire other women on International Women’s Day?
Stand up and be counted! Take a breath and go for it, don’t be disheartened or held back by age or self-doubt. You can achieve anything you want to but you have to be brave enough to take that first step, you will not regret it. Studying again at my age has been empowering. Please do not be held back by imagined restraints….DO IT!