Angela Wallace
Access to Arts & Humanities
I had shown promise at high school but had lost my way in the latter years and did not manage to gain entry to art or textile school. I trained as a florist and worked for many years in flower shops before becoming a full-time mum and homemaker. 

I was 37 years old when I returned to education, in January 2018, as part of Newbattle Abbey College’s Preparation for Further Education course. My youngest was starting school that summer and, rather than return to work, my husband encouraged me to get a degree. 

I knew returning straight into full time education would have been too much for my young family, so I opted for the part-time Prep for F.E course. This allowed us to become used to new childcare routines and showed me I had what it takes to study a full time SWAP Access to Higher Education course.

If you are having any doubts at all about your abilities, finances or responsibilities then please contact SWAP to discuss your options for moving forward. They are friendly and want to help you. It is so easy to put barriers in our own way but there are structures in place to help people like us to move towards our dreams and ambitions.

I learnt so much about myself from completing a SWAP course; from making new friends, studying new topics and creating different routines. Two highlights of my time at Newbattle were being involved in a promotional video and speaking as student representative at an educational conference.

In 2019 I was offered a place at the University of Edinburgh to study an MA Scottish Ethnology, this is a branch of anthropology with historical elements. The degree is very interesting and studying at Edinburgh has enabled me to read on gender and queer studies, linguistics, design theory and ethnography research. 

Being a parent and a mature full-time student can be tiring and challenging. There is not time in my week to have the ‘traditional’ student experience of campus life. However, I have utilized my life experience in seminars and tutorials and continue to develop great resilience for maintaining busy elements of parenting, studying, and planning my future. 

My eldest thinks I ‘like’ homework. I don’t, but through returning to study I have discovered that I can plan my learning and apply myself to difficult tasks. Whatever positive developments you put into your life will return to you tenfold and open so many new avenues for career and learning.

Good things take time, but time is going to pass anyway so put that time into creating your ideal future. I encourage you to reach out to SWAP. Step by step your aspirations are completely achievable, and I wish you the very best!  
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