‘Extra Mature’ Student

November last year we visited Bournemouth University for my other half Denzil to discuss his PhD paper. As we walked into the amazing building and educational environment my creative aspirations were massively stirred; could I actually do a degree? It was not something I had ever considered.

When I was coming up to leaving school (not even aged 16 as I am an August baby), university was somewhere only children from rich families went. These children had not grown up alongside me at my High School and there was never discussions in the classroom or playground about Further Education (in 1983 it was more about drawing dole or getting a YTS if you were lucky). Back to the now, the winter of 2019, and I am absolutely direction-less. I am Fitness Instructor, CrossFit and Personal Trainer, but I am as happy training myself and concentrating on my body and its recovery. I get bored so easily and I cant sit still for long, a traditional ‘job’ just is not for me.

As realisation dawned on me that I had what I needed to apply, I did so and wrote (dare I say it) a pretty darn good Personal Statement. Within two weeks UAL had offered me a an unconditional place. Wow! But London is not where we had discussed staying, we wanted life on the beach. And so I applied to Arts University Bournemouth where I could study as an Undergraduate and we could live our dream life.

My interview followed and my gut feeling was that it had not gone well: I was not a young student and had had no preparation with a teacher for the questions, and felt a bit of a div if I am honest. Before I received my ‘unsuccessful’ I had already made my mind up that I had applied for the wrong degree for me – I should have applied for Commercial: it is what excites me, not necessarily art photography. So I applied and had an interview scheduled.

This of course was blown out of the water by the UK Covid Lockdown and my interview changed into an online submission of my portfolio. Success and an unconditional offer! I accepted very excited and feeling utterly blessed with timing and opportunity.

Then reality … me, Karen, going to University – what about the debt, what about the uni life? Am I? Can I? What if …. Look, its simple I reassured myself: I have nothing to lose. My student loan has 30 years to be paid back (did I mention I am 53??), and for the three years of my course I am supported financially by a further maintenance loan. Yes, I know it is a loan – but I am so excited at the prospect of using my brain and imagination and learning-to-learn that there are no negatives to consider!

I have had one slight disappointment in discovering the majority of the 1st year will now be on zoom instead of meeting new people of all ages and having conversations in person. But really, this is the reality for us all world wide currently: I may have got work here in Bournemouth as a PT but gyms only reopened recently and are constantly under threat of further lockdowns for the foreseeable. I have made the right decision and am very excited.

My blog will share the whole journey and we will see how this extra-mature student does over the years!

AUB sent us students special socks – nice touch!

Published by Rani

Student of Commercial Photography at Arts University Bournemouth 2020. Former wedding, portrait and events photographer. LRPS, LSWPP. CrossFit L1 and CrossFit Kids Trainer, Personal Trainer and Studio Instructor specialising in transforming health and fitness of the minds and bodies of women and children.

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