18 April 2017
Hello, my name's Jessica Daly and I’m a History undergraduate. I left school after my A Levels and have been in full-time work for the past six years. I worked in a range of fields, from Fashion to Advertising, but what I really want to do is teach History in secondary schools in Tower Hamlets. I knew I’d have to come back to get my degree if I wanted to get a teaching qualification so I enrolled at an online university, taking up a part-time course, but it wasn’t for me. I didn’t find it challenging enough and it was also very isolating. I talked about coming back to full-time education with my partner and made the decision to leave work.
Since returning to university, I’ve not looked back. I’m studying a range of topics that interest me: the histories of Britain, Europe, America and even the Middle Ages. I’m particularly keen to study the World Wars and may focus my dissertation on them from a British perspective with references to contemporary history.
I live in Bow, east London, with my partner who recently started his own organic fruit and vegetables business. We also live close to our families and have caring responsibilities towards them. Though I’ve many commitments, I wanted to return to complete my education even though this meant the next three to four years would be difficult financially as we’d rely on one income.
Soon enough things began to get tough; I found it hard to juggle my education, supporting my partner with his new business, our bills and family commitments. When I was awarded a bursary to help me focus on my studies, I was so relieved and excited at the thought that things would get back on track. The bursary was my safety net and helped me with my daily expenses and course resources – I was able to prioritise my education as I was less stressed about how I was going to afford textbooks that I wouldn’t have bought otherwise.
My university experience is very different to that of an average eighteen year old’s – I’ve not been reliant on my parents’ help and didn’t have that back up to rely on when things began to get tough. But coming back to university at my age, with real life experiences behind me, I think I can appreciate my time here more. The bursary has enriched my time at university and motivated me to stay focused and do the best that I can.
I hope to complete my degree and be teaching History soon. I want to be the teacher that can balance being the fun teacher and the one that engages students and gives them the skills they need to succeed. People like you are helping students like me by giving us opportunities through your support and are bringing us closer to achieving our potential – thank you!