This current Bedford Scholar began their postgraduate studies in September 2016 in Psychology. They were awarded a RHBNC Trust and Bedford Scholarship which was funded by the late Eleanor Vollans who taught Geography from 1948 to 1981 at Bedford College.
Why did you choose to study at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College?
'I didn't take the usual route of doing an undergraduate degree, I chose to do it part-time through distance learning - this took around 9 years to complete. As you can imagine, I would be a lot older than my peers starting a MSc. Due to this, I didn't have a lot of confidence going into a postgraduate course, at any establishment. RHBNC came to my attention completely my accident. I had tried to search for universities closest to me online a few times and each one was miles away. Having a young family, the commute wasn't really an option, nor was staying on campus. [...] One day, however, I randomly came across the College and was astounded to find that it was only a 30-minute drive from home. [...] I made several enquiries and visited three times; I was sold. I was, first, impressed by the beautiful main building and, secondly, by how friendly the staff were (on and offline). Although I didn't have a choice of universities, I know I wouldn't have decided to come here had it not been for the beautiful scenery and the friendly staff. As I said, previously, I needed to have those things to boost my confidence into believing that I could go to a 'usual' university and complete a postgraduate degree.'
How has this scholarship helped you in your studies and what might your future plans be?
'For me, the scholarship further increased my confidence in myself. Before it, I thought I was too old to study and that I would be of no use. I clearly remember the moment I received the email. I was in a public place (thankfully alone) and I burst into tears. This really did mean a lot to me. All the horrendous things I had been through in the past had almost been washed away by this email. It was like a new lease of life.
I plan to use my new MSc degree as a stepping stone to a Doctorate. I have learned tons of new things on this course and even if I don't get to follow my dreams of a PhD, I know that I am a better person for it and I can use everything I have learned to better myself in whatever role I go into next.'
To my donor: 'You have completely changed my life. when I once thought it was not possible, you have opened, not just a door, but a hallway full of new doors and opportunities for me. Plus, I am now the most educated female in my family! Thank you.'