A Lancashire mum-of-one has proven that it’s never too late to follow your dreams after turning her life around to graduate with a first-class degree from Edge Hill University – and is now on a mission to help improve life chances for others.
Michelle Clegg, 39, has transformed her life as a stay-at-home single mum to graduate from university with a First Class Honours degree in Sociology and land her first role with Lancashire charity Blackburn Community CVS, where she will focus on supporting people in the region into education, training and employment.
Michelle, who lives in Accrington, is a single parent to her six-year-old son, Sonny, who she credits as her motivation to go to university and build a career for herself.
She explained: “I wanted to go to university to change my life. Having Sonny was a turning point for me and made me realise that I need to provide for him, to be educated and to be employable.
“Before coming to Edge Hill, I’d never had a job interview before in my life and the skills I’ve learned during my time here have helped me to become employable and secure myself a job for the first time in my life.
“There were moments during my studies when it was difficult to find the right balance between motherhood, university and work, but I kept telling myself then I had come too far to give up.”
Back when Sonny was three, Michelle embarked on an access to higher education course to prepare her for university. It was during this time that she discovered she was dyslexic.
She said: “When I came to Edge Hill, everything was in place for my dyslexia. The support from the University was fantastic. Help was always there to make sure I could focus on my work and get the best results I could.”
As one of the first members of her family to go to university, Michelle explained why her graduation will be an emotional day.
She said: “To now be at the end of my university journey and graduating, it’s a massive achievement for me. Sadly, my mum passed away a few years ago and I wish she could be with me on my graduation day, so it will be a very emotional but I’m so proud that my son will be there to experience it with me.
“For the first time in my life, I have confidence that I’m employable. I’m in a job that I love doing, where I can help people. Who knows what doors will open in the future or what it holds in store for me, but it’s looking bright.”
Sociology and Social Sciences at Edge Hill combines a supportive atmosphere with cutting-edge modules like Critical Autism Studies or Young People and Social Media. There are a whole range of career paths to explore – researcher, mental health worker, police officer or international aid worker. Or you might decide to work with children in schools or even rehabilitate young offenders. Learn about the world with us and discover your place in it.