Wolverhampton’s ethos as the University of Opportunity was a major draw for mature student Zoe Mason who was keen to explore her passion for the past.
Graduating with a first class BA (Hons) History, Zoe has secured a Graduate Intern position with the University enabling her to gain valuable skills while also continuing research work on a book.
Applying for University was a daunting prospect for the 33-year-old, as she felt there were gaps in her knowledge, particularly academic skills. As a parent, she also had to juggle family life and work with her academic studies.
She says: “As a mature student I was concerned that my experience and previous qualifications would not allow me into university at all. However, after looking into the University of Wolverhampton’s ethos as the University of Opportunity, I was encouraged that this may not be the case here. I was able to access support and guidance through workshops and tutors, and build upon these skills and access resources.
“History was a step away from my previous career path. I wanted to see where this experience and opportunity would redirect my life. I am so glad I did! My application for History involved an essay based upon historical representation within a media form. I thoroughly enjoyed researching and writing this assignment, and decided there and then, that this is what I wanted to do.”
But despite the challenges she faced, Zoe really made the most of her university experience. She is working on an academic publication alongside a senior lecturer which aims to retell the story of soldiers, the volunteer nurses and other hospital employees of Wordsley Military Hospital during WW1. She has also worked alongside an academic cohort from the University on a project for the Vice-Chancellor, to ascertain the success of employability initiatives and how these can be improved at the University. The team’s research into has resulted in changes for the next academic year, and Zoe will present the findings at a one-day employability conference this month. As well as her first class degree, Zoe is proud to be collecting an Ambassador Award for her participation as a student volunteer in the Vice Chancellor’s Strategic Excellence Initiative: Employability Strand to improve the student experience.
Zoe, from Bridgnorth, has just started a Graduate Intern position for Student Support within the Faculty of Social Sciences. She is continuing to research the book she is working on, and hopes to have some academic papers published. She hopes to apply for a PhD for the next academic year.
“University is probably one of the scariest things I have ever put myself through, but it was worth it. If I could do it all again then I would,” she says.
“My experience has been a rollercoaster. I cannot pretend it has been easy, and I have worked hard, and pushed myself to the limits for the past three years. However, the help, support and guidance which the University offers has helped me to grow and to successfully focus my academic career and future career path more than I ever thought possible. The lecturing and knowledge which the academics display within their field has been a true inspiration to me. I will miss listening to their passion and depth of knowledge within the lectures.
“Overall I can say my experience has been just that – an experience! It has been thoroughly enjoyable and I believe this is due to the staff and the universities support and guidance. So much so, that I am now part of the team which offers support to students, and hope to become myself a knowledgeable and respected academic at the University, within my own field.”