Audrey Field
Access to Community, Education and Humanities
Going to university straight from school wasn’t really an option for me, I started a full-time job and enjoyed working. I changed to a manufacturing job when I was 24 and was there for the next 17 years until the factory shut in 2016 and I had to look for something new.

I hadn’t even considered college and university as options. I was over 40 so I thought it might be too late and I knew my qualifications were over 20 years old. I popped into my local college on a bit of a whim to ask about studying some Highers and it was the advisor I spoke to that suggested a SWAP course.

My initial intentions were to become a primary teacher and I had not even considered that a subject-based degree could be an option. I thought at my age I had to get qualified and back to work as soon as possible. When someone came to the college from University of St Andrews to tell us about their degree programs I thought it sounded great, but I didn’t think for one second that it was a viable choice. I had a certain impression of St Andrews and I really didn’t think I would fit in as an older, ex-factory worker from Dundee (as I'm often reminded, I didn't think it was for “a Dundee gadgie like me”). I was given a St Andrews student as a SWAP mentor who gave me lots of advice and showed me around the university and I soon decided that it was my number one choice.

I loved the variety of subjects on my SWAP course and having a really encouraging Geography teacher helped me choose that as my degree. My classmates at Dundee and Angus College were great. Despite being all different ages and from different backgrounds we often worked together to help each other and I’m lucky that a few of them are now at St Andrews with me.

It’s no exaggeration to say that going back to college and doing the SWAP course has completely changed my life. I love university life and am making the most of it, getting involved in as much as I can, which was something I didn’t expect. I’m a committee member for the Geography Society, a member of the tennis club and have attended balls and other social events. 

Summer 2021 Update
I loved studying geography at university because you get to do a bit of everything and I learned so many new skills. I'm starting a secondary Geography PGDE at University of Aberdeen in August because I worked with secondary aged kids whilst at St Andrews and really loved it. I'm hopeful that we can get back to face to face learning soon as I really struggled to work from home but I am really looking forward to the classroom placements.
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