The opportunity to study at Edge Hill University proved too good to turn down for Excellence Scholarship winner Tessa Simpson.
The 32-year-old from Didsbury, Manchester, didn’t seriously consider higher education as an option after completing her schooling – it was becoming a mother that was the catalyst.
“Having my two children was the biggest motivation to want to do better and have a good career, being a good role model for them. Also, knowing that my brother finished his degree after overcoming a mental illness, the support from my family inspired me to go back to education.”
Tessa went into employment straight from school, becoming a health care worker – a role which she enjoyed for several years. However, the lure of education proved too tempting, going back to college at the age of 26.
“I decided to retake my Maths and English and continued on to other courses such as Health and Social Care, as well as doing an Access course.”
This gave Tessa the A-Level equivalent grades she needed to apply for the course she wanted – Paramedic Practice – at Edge Hill University.
“This was my first choice, from the research that I did. Edge Hill is one of the best universities to study the course.”
Tessa feels she is adapting to the demands of the course – and education in general – while also balancing the responsibility of looking after her children, aged seven and two, although admits there are sacrifices she has had to make.
“It can be difficult, especially being out of education and going back, it took a while to get the momentum going. I also feel like I have a lot more to prove being a mature student. Trying to find the balance of studying, motherhood and volunteering, takes a lot of planning and self-sacrifice.
“Making sure that my children always come first, but also making sure I schedule enough time and revision for my studies is very important, otherwise it can become overwhelming – organisation is key.
“It does take a toll on any social aspect of life as there is hardly any time to go out and meet with friends whilst juggling commitments and responsibilities, but as I keep telling myself it will be all worth it in the end! Of course, it will be hard but it wouldn’t be worth it if it wasn’t. I feel lucky to be on the course as I know how competitive it can be and I have worked hard for it.”
Her studies have been boosted by the knowledge gained from her volunteering with St John Ambulance, which she first undertook in 2016.
“I love volunteering with them. The experience and training they have given me is invaluable and has supported me with my course.”
This has included ongoing Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training, which will include going out in ambulances in early 2019. Despite her other commitments, she still manages to cover at least three events a month with the charity.
Tessa plans to continue to study other courses post-degree with the idea of becoming a prescriber working in clinics and hospitals.
“I want to extend my skills so that I can be versatile working in different sectors of emergency care”.