I was put in to care at the beginning of secondary school. It was really disruptive - I was constantly told I couldn’t go to university and that it wasn’t made for people like me. That just baffled me. It could be easy for someone in my situation to go down the wrong path, but I always wanted to be a paramedic so I knew I wouldn’t stray down that path. I was always very aware of that.
I didn’t get any extra support at school and was put in to a box very quickly. It was hard to break down those barriers; I was put in foundation classes even though I was more than capable of completing higher papers. So I got a personal tutor and would catch up on lessons outside of school, and I passed all of my GCSEs. I went on to college but studied Performing Arts, as being put in foundation classes had meant I couldn’t pursue science at A Level. I applied for a few universities and was offered an interview here at Suffolk.
When I came for an interview here, I knew this was the place for me because I could tell Lee (my course leader) really wanted me here. And sometimes it’s just having that person to say actually, you can do this.
My foster mum is absolutely one of a kind, without her I wouldn’t have ever considered university. She was my rock; she was a really strong, independent woman. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her and will be forever grateful.
I think although the stereotypes are not very enabling, the biggest barrier you have is yourself. You need to understand that nobody can say where you’re going to go and no one can put you in a box unless you let them.