Kelly Holness – Applied Psychology student and a Mum

Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Kelly, I’m 37 years old and I have a 15 year old son called Matthew. I have just finished the second year of a psychology degree after starting in the Foundation Centre in 2013.

Why have you decided to come to Durham?

I decided to go back to uni in 2013, prior to that I was managing a nightclub. I’ve always worked in the bar industry and thoroughly enjoyed it. However working til 3/4am was starting to take its toll, so decided it was time to retrain. Psychology is something that I’ve always had an interest in so was the obvious choice for me.  Durham University was really the only option for me as traveling further afield was not suitable due to family commitments.


Friends from the Biology of the Environment class

How difficult is it to combine work, family and uni? How does it feel to be a mature student?

I found it quite difficult to combine uni with family life, but making friends with people in the same situation was a great source of support. I found it quite easy to make friends and  found most people to be friendly and helpful. I have not found being a mature student to be a barrier to communicating with others. I am quite pleased to be a mature student and I think if I had done it when I was younger I would not have been so focused and probably spent too much time in the pub!

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

I did do a little socializing with the mature student society on their regular Friday night get together in the student union in Durham. It was a good opportunity to get to know other mature students in similar circumstances to myself.

I did not really have the time to get involved with college life, however during some difficult personal circumstances in the first year of my degree I received a great deal of help and support from my college.



Ebsworth Building at Queens campus. Home for Foundation and Applied Psychology Department

How did Foundation Centre help you to prepare for your degree?

The Foundation Centre was incredibly helpful to me. Prior to returning to uni I had been out of education for 16 years and it was a huge learning curve. The support and guidance from the Foundation Centre really helped to relieve some of the stress of returning to education after all of that time. They taught skills such as essay writing, time management and critical thinking. Without the foundation year I feel I would really have struggled in the first year of my degree. Instead I had made friends and established a support network which helped me feel more confident.

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

I would recommend the Foundation Centre to anyone. My advice would be to make the most of it, don’t be afraid to ask questions, all of the staff are more than happy to answer any questions no matter how stupid you may think they are. It is a fantastic place to learn new skills and meet new people before embarking on the first year of your degree.


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