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Case study: Claire Proctor

Claire Proctor, BA Open degree

“My first attempt at a degree started three years previous to starting with The Open University. I went to a standard brick university, but one year in decided that it wasn’t for me and with hindsight I think I felt pressured into doing a degree because all my friends were doing one! I therefore started full-time work and although I enjoyed the money, there was something missing. I enrolled at my local college to do an evening course in art therapy, just because I was interested in it, and from then onwards I became fascinated with understanding others’ behaviour and mental health.

I looked into a degree in Psychology, but felt limited by the course modules at brick universities as well as being unsure if I could afford it. I had heard of The Open University but didn’t know much about it, so I set off to investigate it and found that my interests in psychology AND mental health could be studied together through the Open degree option...

My modules were both challenging and interesting, and after Level Two study, I decided to change my career, so that I could put into practice what I had been learning.

My new employers were fascinated by the flexibility of my degree, and commented that the ability to study and work alongside requires many skills and was something they were really impressed with!

Now I have finished my Open degree I am applying to do my Postgraduate Certificate in Education, to be able to teach Psychology at secondary school. I feel I have come such a long way and considering a career I never even thought possible and I have The Open University to thank for that.

I may be graduating six years after all my friends, but I have come out with less debt, more work understanding, but most of all an enjoyable experience – where else can you read course books in the bath, watch lectures on the laptop in your pyjamas, and write assignments with tea and chocolate cake!”

Claire’s talk of tea and cake is certainly a unique take on life-enhancing learning…!

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