Starting a degree at 24 with the OU, Abbey’s inspiring story

Another inspiring mature student story we have on the blog. Abbey started her degree at 24 to study Psychology with Counselling with the Open University. Her aim is to become a counselling psychologist and help others with their struggles.

We are sharing these stories with the aim of inspiring those who feel “lost” in their life and cannot see a way out, it’s never too late! Do you have a mature student story you want to share or you know someone who has one? Get in touch via the Facebook page or Reddit community of this blog and we will publish it!

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Starting a Degree at 24, Abbey’s story

Hi, my name is Abbey and I am a mum of two beautiful little girls. I started my journey at the Open University (OU) in 2018 studying BSc (Hons) in Psychology with Counselling.

After many years of battling mental health, I decided to embark on my journey in psychology . I wanted to be in a position when I had recovered to be able to help people through the same battles I had faced.

When younger I was never very academic due to the battles I was facing at school with physical and mental health issues. After falling pregnant with my youngest at age 18 in 2012, I thought all my chances of attending university were out of the window.

Many years passed by being in jobs I hated, and I felt like I was seeing everyone on social media graduating and achieving the life I wanted. However, I also always felt I was too old to start a new journey in life as I had too many commitments.

It was stuck in my head that people go to university at the age of 18, and the possibility of being a mature student was never talked about or thought about.

A degree at 24 with the Open University

However, at the age of 24, I decided to take a leap and look for university courses. I only came across the OU by chance as it was an advertisement on Facebook. The enrolment was straightforward, and the process with student finance was very fast.

The degree I chose I enjoyed It covered social, biological, developmental and cognitive aspects of human life and even got to do my own research during my final year.

I enjoyed studying with the OU as it gave me the freedom to study at home while being a full-time mum. Moreover, it also gave me time to volunteer as a Samaritan to gain work experience.

Challenges of studying with the Open University

However, I did find during the lockdown, there was a lack of support from the OU. During the lockdown, I was at Level 2, I had a new-born baby, and home-schooling my oldest, while volunteering when Samaritans were at their highest demand.

All the face-to-face tutorials were cancelled, and it was very difficult to get support sessions from tutors. However, despite this I still achieved a distinction by staying motivated and putting in as much work as I could.

At level three, studying full-time I was very proud to achieve the highest graded dissertation in my tutor group which was graded 98% and finished my degree with a first class honours.

Fears of starting a degree at 24

The fears before I started the degree were soon ended as I found myself not being the oldest but most of the time being the youngest.

I was lucky enough to make a few friends for life from the OU who were on the same course. Especially a lady who was older than me. We became friends though chance of a FB study group page, and now we are going to graduation together.

Deciding to do a degree at 24 is the best decision I have ever made. It has given me more confidence within myself, boosted my self-esteem and gave me a sense of achievement that I craved for many years. I know I have done myself, my family and my children proud, as I am the first person in my family to get a degree.

Future plans after graduating with the Open University

Since the OU I have landed myself a MA in counselling and psychotherapy practice The interviewer even admired that I was from the OU! She said it showed great self-determination and motivation. My aim is to one day become a counselling psychologist and help others with their struggles.

My advice to anyone who is debating starting the OU and is thinking about the years it takes, talking yourself out of it like I did, thinking it will be so many years by the time you finish, whether you’re 20, 40, 55 etc your going to be that age regardless. However, it is better to be that age with a degree, don’t let time or age put you off.

I recently set up a study Instagram and TikTok aiming to post coping techniques as a student; my postgraduate journey studying MA counselling and psychotherapy; study and assignment tips and also funny student relatable videos. If you’d like to follow me on my journey, here are my links:

Thank you Abbey and more mature student stories!

Thank you Abbey for sharing your inspiring mature student story. From battling with mental health to achieving a first class honours degree, well done!

Are you looking for more mature student stories? Here you can find more: