Returning to university and having another chance of being a student was “the best thing that I’ve ever done” according to 41-year-old Nicole Mason from Ormskirk.

Nicole graduated on Saturday (1 December) from Edge Hill University with a PGCE in Further Education and Training, after going back to study rekindled her love of learning.

As an 18-year-old, Nicole had gone to University, but didn’t do as well as she’d hoped in her Psychology and Criminology degree. It wasn’t until 2009 that Nicole returned to her studies, and a second attempt at a Psychology degree.

“I always wanted to go back to University, I even had dreams about going back and studying, then I’d wake up.” said Nicole.

“My sister suggested studying on a part time basis so I didn’t need to give up work, so I completed my undergraduate degree with the Open University.”

It was only after graduation, when she was thinking about her next steps that Nicole decided to take the leap into teaching and was accepted to study at Edge Hill after giving a presentation to staff in the Faculty of Education.

“Studying at a ‘brick’ university is different because you’re able to make friends and talk to people to get advice and help about how they would address tasks and problems, “said Nicole. “This was different to my previous experience of distance studying, because there you have to do it all on your own,” she said.

Nicole has secured a teaching job, and is currently working with a young person in care to teach her Maths and English. “I absolutely love it, she is very eager to learn and a joy to teach,” she said.

Continuing her own education has also created a love of learning for Nicole, and she has just begun studying modules on a natural science degree course. “I enjoy learning, and having studying to do makes me feel better,” she said. “For my mum it is gardening if she’s feeling stressed, for me, it’s learning.

“I loved being at Edge Hill, it is like a community, I made a lot of friends I’m going to stay in touch with, the staff in the library were exceptional and I thought the facilities were brilliant. I’ve had a lot of help and support while studying and want to thank my personal tutor Scott Clark, lecturers Shereen Shaw and Dave Allan, Vicky Duckworth who is a reader in Further Education, senior lecturers Tim Rutter and Peter Crainie, Peter Atherton the partnership quality officer, and head of department Phil Rigby.

“But my main advice to others currently studying or wanting in the future, is to interact and talk to your peers, ask questions and not be afraid to say if you need help. And enjoy it!”

Find out more about studying in the Faculty of Education here.