Mature-age student and Mum of three, Laura Farrow graduated with a degree this week in the face of an exceptionally challenging family illness.
Just before Laura, 43, commenced her Child Health and Wellbeing studies her brother suffered a near fatal brain injury that has left him suffering from recurrent seizures that see him frequently admitted hospital.
“Studying has at times been difficult due to life events. I have three children and my husband works away in the week. Additionally before I started my studies, my brother acquired a life-changing brain injury. At times the seizures are so severe that he has been put in an induced coma. Due to this I have looked after his two young children and offered emotional support to my family.
“This obviously has been extremely difficult for my family, as well as distressing and emotionally draining for me. At times I’ve found it impossible to concentrate on my degree but my amazing lecturers have been so supportive and understanding.
“They are so approachable and knowledgeable and really understand the impact family life can have on studying. The support from other students has also really helped me complete my degree, as there has been so much laughter and the odd tearful meltdown,” Laura said.
Despite these adversities and caring for five young children, Laura was passionate to pursue a new career and work in an industry close to her heart.
“After being a full-time mum for many years, I felt it was my last chance to study for a degree and find a job that I found interesting. I chose Edge Hill University because of the quality of the course, the facilities, and also because it’s a beautiful university with lovely landscaping and a great atmosphere.
“When I first started I felt excited and a little apprehensive. I realised I was the eldest on the course, but after a week or so I felt that I really fitted in and everyone was lovely and so easy to get on with.
“I thoroughly enjoyed learning and found the various modules so interesting. I have learnt so much, gained so much confidence, improved on my presentation and written skills, met some lovely people and, most importantly, I have proved to myself that I can achieve amazing results,” she said.
During her studies Laura volunteered at Home Start, a charity that supports vulnerable families with children under the age of five, which has inspired her career aspirations.
“Volunteering with Home Start has helped me decide what career path to take and has given me the confidence to achieve this. In September I am going to start a Masters in Social Work, which will eventually lead to me achieving my dream job of becoming a social worker.
“I can honestly say that being a mature student at Edge Hill has been such a positive experience and I am so pleased I had the opportunity to complete my degree at this university,” she said.
To find out more about Bachelor of Science, Child Health and Wellbeing click here.