I never gave up hope of getting my education one day, hence it appeared on my vision board. Knowing that I needed to take practical steps to make it happen. I started looking at my partially completed OU degree again and I realised that the subject matter was not what interested me any more, nor was it relevant to my life. I had been doing a Psychology degree, with a view to becoming a child psychologist eventually, but now I owned an IT company and wanted an IT degree, that would be useful to my work life. As I read through the course summaries I realised that I already knew most of what would be taught in the undergraduate course and that the really interesting looking topics were all in the Master’s degree courses, which I was not eligible for, having not completed my first degree. I thought it was ridiculous, that I could have a completely irrelevant honours degree, in English Literature for example and be accepted for a masters in IT, and yet having relevant experience seemed to count for nothing. I became despondent. I was unwilling to go through another 4 years of study just to qualify for the course I wanted to do right now. I had no clue how to make it happen.
Because I’d been spending time on the OU site looking at MSc courses I suddenly started seeing ads for an MSc IT course with the University of Liverpool (thank you Google advertising xx). I clicked on the advert and found the course of my dreams – perfect in every way, fascinating course material, excellent tutors, 100% online, so I never had to hand write anything. There was just one problem. They too required an honours degree to pre-qualify for the course. Choking away the tears I started to browse social media, hoping for any distraction to take my mind off the fact that my dream was being thwarted by a seemingly insurmountable obstacle – or at least an obstacle I was not willing to overcome by spending 4 years getting to the starting block.
The ad followed me relentlessly online for weeks. There it was, in my face, every time I went online, as a reminder of something I really wanted but was barred from. Thoughts started presenting themselves in my mind: ‘why don’t you at least ask?’, ‘what’s the worst they could say?’, ‘who is going to know if they just laugh at you for asking?’, ‘what if you missed your dreams because you’re too scared to ask?’. Eventually, I wrote a letter – expecting to be rejected I told them upfront that I didn’t meet the required qualification, and then explained why. I told them why I wanted to do the course and gave them my phone number. I didn’t think I’d hear from them, but they phoned me and over the next couple of weeks I spent hours on the phone with them. They took references from my clients, wanted a complete breakdown of every project I’d ever worked on, and my role in each project, they got my transcripts from the OU, took details of all other educational and professional qualifications and grilled me in-depth to test out my knowledge levels. Then I didn’t hear from them for a while. I later found out from one of my tutors that they’d held a meeting about me and put it to the vote as to whether to give me a chance or not. Thankfully the yeas outnumbered the nays and I was allowed in, and incredibly they even offered me a partial scholarship, which I gratefully accepted. ‘I knew you could do it!’ said my tutor triumphantly as I passed his module with a distinction. He had argued for me to be let in and it was apparently quite a close call, with some saying I could never cope, due to my lack of programming experience. I am very grateful for those who gave me the chance to prove myself.
Coming next: Getting the balance right