Prior to starting at UcWA, I had done my A-Levels, but didn’t do very well in them. I had signed on to a few evening courses to do AS levels and tried to start Open University, but I didn’t really get on with it.
When I began the course, I had been working within administration for over 14 years and wanted a change in career. I hoped by gaining a degree, it would enable me to move into a history related career, which was something I was passionate about. I hadn’t done any studying for at least, six years, so it was all a bit daunting to start with.
Living near to Cambridge, I did look at many other universities, however, I decided to choose University Centre West Anglia as I really liked the structure of the course. As the course combined all lectures and seminars into 2 days a week, it enabled me to still work part-time around my course. I also found that classes were smaller compared to bigger universities, which ensured that you get more personalised teaching as the tutors really go to know their students. Prior to applying to study at UcWA, I was able to visit the campus on an open day. I met with the course director, who gave me an overview of the course and what to expect.
I had never considered doing a combined degree before, as I was mainly focused on studying history. Studying both History and English Literature alongside one another really worked, we would learn about a specific History event one day and then the next we would cover the works of literature from that period.
I really enjoyed my time at UcWA and made some great friends. Our class was rather small, but we all supported one another with our studies. The lectures were interesting, and we had some great debates in the seminars. The university building was light and airy, and a great place to sit and chat with a coffee, catching up or discussing the course. Our tutors, Katrin and Janet were great, they were always friendly and approachable people, you could talk to them about anything. Overall, my experience at UcWA was great!
After completing my degree I wanted to find a way in which I could use it within a career. Teaching History was not something that I wanted to do, so I looked into studying a Masters’ Degree and found a part-time course in Building History at the University of Cambridge. Without UcWA I would’ve never been able to change careers and work in a role that I am passionate about.
I am currently employed by Bidwells in Cambridge, as a Heritage and Conservation Placement student, however, I have just accepted a permanent position as an Assistant Heritage Consultant. The role involves researching into the history of specific buildings or areas to enable a new development or alterations to existing building without impacting the significance of any nearby listed buildings or areas of historical importance. It is a mixture of visiting sites, report writing and research, both desk-based and in local archives.
If you are thinking of returning to learning as an adult, I would say do it! If you’re unsure whether to go for it or not, go for it, you won’t regret it! You will make some great friends and even if you don’t want to change careers, the skills you learn whilst studying will benefit you. The courses fit well around the rest of your life, so you don’t have to make major changes to be able to study.