New Lease of Life
a career in the armed forces followed by a series of jobs from delivering post
to managing a carpet superstore, five years ago Alan Taylor’s arthritis became
so disabling that he was – in his words – 'pensioned off'.
of seeing this as an end of opportunities, he saw it as a chance to do something
new, as a result of which he is graduating from the University of Leicester in
July 2002 with the degree of BA (Hons) in Ancient History and Archaeology,
having gained a II:I with a high First for his dissertation.
just thought, I can be a cabbage and watch television all day, or I can do
something with my life.
I had left school at 15 with no qualifications, but I always felt I
wasn’t stupid. My
wife had gone to university to develop her career and while she was doing that I
thought I might go to college and get a couple of GCSEs.”
chat with a persuasive tutor at Loughborough College resulted in Alan
registering for an Access course, from which he emerged a year later with high
enough grades to go to university.
From the offers he received he chose Leicester because it seemed a very
“compact and human environment”, and he felt it had more to offer him.
found the Archaeology and Ancient History department friendly and the tutors
highly motivated, student oriented and easy to talk to.
He also acknowledges the support he received from the Student Welfare
Centre and the AccessAbility Centre.
suffer a lot of pain, for instance if I have to sit for a long time.
AccessAbility helped with issues like dispensations for examinations,
allowing me to take them in a space where I could get up and walk round to
relieve the stressed muscles.
The Welfare Centre persuaded me to apply for funds I didn’t know about
or hadn’t liked to access.”
degree is hard work, as Alan Taylor is the first to admit.
But he would also like to see more mature people embarking on higher
one in our family ever had a degree.
If I could persuade a few more people to do something like this I’d be
never thought I would get a degree, but I did and I did well.
It’s not as daunting as people think.
Instead of staying at home feeling sorry for themselves they could give
themselves something special in life.”
an interest in the Ancient Greeks, Alan switched from Archaeology to Ancient
History and Archaeology and now has a place to read for a Masters degree at the
University of Bristol.
“I’m not stopping at a BA,” he said.
“I want to do something with my degree, to make a contribution in my
subject area and perhaps get something published.
TO EDITORS: Further
information is available from Alan Taylor, 01509 650530, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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