University of Leicester eBulletin

Work-Life Balance Exemplified by Yvette

July 2003

Mother of two Yvette Gamble found balancing the demands of a busy household and a degree no easy task - but doesn't regret a minute of it!

She believes in the value of lifelong learning and found that there was plenty of support for mature students at the University of Leicester.

She said: "I am 34 years and lived in Leicestershire all my life. I went to Countesthorpe Community College and left at sixteen with five O-levels. I then had various jobs in offices and shops until I gave up work to start a family.

"When my first child was one, I decided that I would try to find a career for myself and so studied at Wigston College of Further Education on an Access to Higher Education with the idea of pursuing a degree in History, a real passion of mine, and then a PGCE.

"I finished the course and proceeded to study for a BA in History and Archaeology. I felt at home at the open day at Leicester and liked the idea of a joint degree, as I felt that two subjects allowed for a bit of variety.

"My time at Leicester has been great! The staff and students have all been friendly and helpful even though as a mature student with a husband and two children there is very little time for socialising. Having an Mature Students' Association common room where you could meet other mature students with similar difficulties was very helpful and ensured that you did not feel isolated. I never felt that I could not talk to someone if I had a problem and my personal tutor - Marilyn Palmer - was particularly supportive as was Jo Story of the History department.

"The degree was by no means easy, and I was grateful of the support that I had from my family -especially my husband - who were willing to put up with the times that was not able to give them my undivided attention.

"My tip to anyone who is starting a degree whether they are a mature student or not is to be as organised as possible. Time management is vital if you are to juggle running a home, looking after children and meeting deadlines. What you should also be prepared to do is discuss any problems you have with either a module co-ordinator or personal tutor if things get too much to handle (and there will be times when you feel like giving up), but as I have said before the staff are there to help and I have never found any one not willing to listen."

Yvette hopes to take a postgraduate teaching qualification after a break from her studies: "I would certainly hope that I could study for a PGCE here at Leicester as I am going to miss the whole place. The whole atmosphere is one of welcome and I have felt at home from the start. The Archaeology and History departments were certainly the right choice for me!"

Yvette will receive her degree at a ceremony at De Montfort Hall, Leicester at 11.00 on Thursday, July 10.


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Last updated: July 2003
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