Tracy Ann Mulligan
Access to Teaching
Going to university was not something I ever thought was possible. I left school and worked in factories and trained as a hairdresser. When I married my husband, we moved around a lot as he was in the army. To that end I was mainly employed working with children in local military nurseries. When we finally settled back in Scotland, I worked part time and also volunteered in my children’s school. This was where I was encouraged to look at entering back into education.

I contacted the local college, West Lothian College, and found out about access courses, I applied for the Access to Teaching and when I did the course I loved it but also came across subjects that I had never done at school, such as psychology, which I found fascinating. I did have setbacks, such as failing my Nat 5 maths, so did not get my place at university on the Primary Teaching degree, however the college had encouraged us to have a back up plan. Mine was to go on and do an HNC in Childhood Practice and although I had secured a place on the course, I realised during the Access to Teaching course that I wanted to work in adult education and enjoyed learning about psychology and felt I would like to explore this and other subjects further. I applied instead for a different course, HNC Social Sciences, and through this course I discovered subjects such as philosophy and sociology. 

One of my struggles was with my spelling, but, with the help of my husband proofreading my work and spell check on the computer, it was okay. However, one day near the end of my course I had to do a handwritten piece for a different tutor, as mine was off; he commented that he thought I might be dyslexic. Since I was so near the end of my course, I didn’t take it any further. 

Through the course I got an associate place at Queen Margaret University, where I am currently pursuing a degree in Public Sociology. I went straight into second year and the University has been fantastic. I mentioned what the tutor at college had said about being dyslexic and the University arranged for me to be assessed by an educational psychologist. The tests confirmed that I was indeed dyslexic and helped me gain access to funding for hardware, software and to assist me with my dyslexia while doing my coursework. I have also had an issue with my mental health and the support has been fantastic from my tutors as well as the friends I have made at the University. 

I am pleased to say that none of this has held me back and I have just completed and passed my second year and am very much looking forward to starting third year in September.
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