A mum-of-one who returned to the classroom after being made redundant is celebrating after clinching a first class degree.
Lisa Harrison successfully overcame the challenges of juggling family life and part-time work with her studies for a BA (Hons) Family and Community degree.
Lisa, from Walsall, was made redundant from her sales job at the age of 39, and decided to study a subject she felt passionate about and one that would help her achieve her aim of becoming a probation officer working with young offenders.
She says: “As a wife and a mother I was initially concerned about the prospect of studying at this level as not only had I left school almost 22 years prior at this point, but having to juggle the responsibilities of family life and commitments with the pressures of studying made me feel slightly apprehensive. However my desire to learn drove me to embark on my career path despite of my uncertainties.”
Lisa studied with the Open University for two years before transferring her credits to the University of Wolverhampton following recommendations from teachers at a primary school where she completed a placement and realising it offered the ideal degree module for her.
But Lisa admits that there have been challenges and sacrifices along the way as she juggled the different demands on her time: “Although I enjoyed every aspect of my dissertation, especially the data collection and the writing up of the results, it was extremely hard on family life purely because I dedicated so much time to perfecting it. This meant I spent many hours away from the family environment which did put certain pressures on family life and the running of our household.
“However, during this time the level of guidance I received from my supervisor for my dissertation was outstanding and she went above and beyond to fulfil me with confidence, whilst also the lecturers during the whole of my studies and tutorials were exceptional,” she says.
“My personal tutor was a great source of inspiration and I always felt I could speak with her regarding any concerns or worries, in fact without having such a good network of support from the University, perhaps my results would not have been what they were.”
All the hard work was worth it and the 43-year-old is “absolutely thrilled” to be collecting a first class degree from the Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing this week.
“I have had an amazing experience at the University of Wolverhampton. The whole experience has developed me as a person professionally and increased my confidence in my own abilities. All of the lecturers I have had during my time there have not only been extremely professional and friendly but have provided me with a first class standard of higher education. Every member of staff I have encountered has been extremely kind including librarians and academic support staff, and because the facilities at the University are so advanced I felt truly proud to be a student there.”
During her studies, Lisa completed two placements which she says were “invaluable” and have influenced her ambitions. She wants to work with offenders either as a probation officer within a prison or within the police force or for the police force as a criminal profiler, and her next steps are to study an MA in Criminology.