Michelle Lowe: Mature student reading Primary Education

Introducing another Durham Foundation alumni, Michelle Lowe, who is now in her second year of her Primary Education degree at Queen’s campus.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a mother of two children who are also studying university degrees (**read VERY mature!). Throughout my working life, the main part of my job was delivering intervention plans and encouraging positive learning journeys for children in primary schools. Right now my life is very focused around my own learning journey within an equally positive setting, providing opportunities for me to strive beyond that of the degree that I am studying.

Durham University Queens Campus

At Durham University Queen’s Campus

Why have you decided to come to Durham?

I decided to come to Durham because it offers a B(Ed) in Primary Education. It is also a leading university and since I am paying for my education, I want to get the most out of my education!

How difficult is it to combine work, family and university?

I make it work, I have to. Working and studying as well as being a parent encourages me to be better organised and focused in every aspect of what I do. A work opportunity came up at the library at Queen’s Campus in my Foundation year and I worked there as a Library Support Worker. And now I work in Stephenson College (my College!), supporting the College Staff with the day to day running of the College and Reception.

Handover Dinner

Handover Dinner at Stephenson College

How does it feel to be a mature student?

My own children are older than some of my course peers but still, working together in groups learning and gaining experiences from each other has been a highlight for me; I’m so glad that I am on this journey with such a diverse group of people; we all have so much to offer in terms of knowledge, know-how and experiences. There are many opportunities to mingle at Scholar’s Suppers and black-tie dinners. I do feel a part of my College. There is no getting away from the fact that I am older and that my evenings are spent at home. But the College offers representatives for families and mature students and there are opportunities to take part or not. We are all different and have different responsibilities and lives and that is understood, and that, I think is important.

What can you tell us about socializing as a mature student?

I try and make the most of the Scholar’s Supper evenings and take part in my College’s activities by being a volunteer for Open Days.

Moulin Rouge Night at College_me second left

Moulin Rouge Night at Stephenson College

How did foundation centre help you to prepare for your degree?

The Foundation Centre continuously supported me throughout my first year and they continue to do so even now. I often pop my head in and chat to Olwyn, Mary, Susan, Carole and Steve. I am so grateful to them for the guidance that they provided; it got me to where I am now and where I will be. They have been an essential step in my learning how to learn again!

Roseberry Topping-I met new friends me front centre

Roseberry Topping-Foundation centre trip where I met new friends

What would you advise to people who are thinking to apply for a Durham University degree with Foundation?

I applied to the Foundation Centre after having read what the year offers. Now that I am through my second year I have a true understanding of the guidance and learning that took place during that first year. I was astounded at the growth in my abilities in mathematics, science, English, psychology and my all-round academia. They certainly prepared me, although I do realise that an awful lot of the hard work did come from me! So with the work that the lecturers put into your learning and the hard work that you as a student put in, will hold you in good stead for the journey ahead.

If you are interested to learn more about Foundation Centre and its courses visit our webpage https://www.dur.ac.uk/foundation.centre .


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