Step up to Higher Education was picture perfect, says graduate

“It gave me the confidence to progress, but it also provided me with experience in things such as essay preparation and presentation skills – aspects of HE which I know other mature students probably worry about before starting a degree but doing the course first really put those fears to rest for me!”

Yvonne Grimshaw Baker

A full time mum is planning a picture perfect future, after gaining a first class photography degree from Staffordshire University.

Yvonne Grimshaw Baker, 42 from Tean, decided to attend an Open Day at the university after questioning where her life was going.  Her daughter had just turned two, and she felt it was time to do something for herself for a change.

Yvonne said: “I came along to Staffordshire University and because of my ‘break’ from education; they suggested the Step-Up to HE route would be best for me.  It was ideal and they really made me believe that I could do a degree after being out of education for 24 years.”

“It gave me the confidence to progress, but it also provided me with experience in things such as essay preparation and presentation skills – aspects of HE which I know other mature students probably worry about before starting a degree but doing the course first really put those fears to rest for me!”

“I joined the BA(Hons) Photography course in 2009 and got on really well.  I would recommend anyone to do the Step-Up to HE course as it eases you back in if you have been out of education for a long time.”

Yvonne has now graduated and hopes to continue her journey, possibly with a Masters in Community Arts.

She has caught the learning bug, and would encourage everybody thinking of going to university to jump in and go for it.  “People should just take all the opportunities they can as it really does come naturally once you take the plunge and it gives you so much confidence.” She said.

“It really is easier than people think to juggle the balance between family life and studying – if you put in 100% and get all of your assignments in early you make it so much easier for yourself, and if you find you are struggling, all the support you need is right there at the university.  All of the lecturers and the other students have been so good and I have really felt at home throughout my studies.”

“I would also mention that being disabled has not deterred me from finishing the degree or created any problems while studying.  The university has a Student Enabling Centre which has helped me whenever I needed by offering specific support, which was really reassuring throughout my time at Staffs.”

Yvonne now plans to pass on her new found confidence by working with misunderstood communities.  She particularly wants to use her photography skills to document and highlight the issues faced by the intersex community, capturing the difficulties they face and giving people a voice through photography.

Contact

Maria Scrivens
Media Relations Manager
Marketing and Public Relations
L600, Flaxman Building
College Road
Stoke-on-Trent
ST4 2DE
t: +44 (0)1782 294375
m: 07766 520339
e: m.c.scrivens@staffs.ac.uk