Click on the play button to hear Alan's interview:
In this episode I talk to Alan one of Academy Online Learning’s Health Students about his former job as a postman, his recent change into studying again and heading for a new career.
Hello Alan, thank you so much for taking part in this special podcast series. I'm going to ask you a few questions about your time on the course and where your future is heading in terms of your education and career. First of all can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you studied whilst being a student with Academy Online Learning?
Good afternoon Sam thank you for inviting me on to the podcast. My name is Alan, I'm 37 years old, I am the father of a 4-year-old daughter. Whilst I have been at Academy online learning I have been studying around my job which I have been a post man of 16 years and I have studied the health science pathway.
When did you start the course and how did you hear about the access diploma with AOLL?
I started my calls last June. I found Academy online learning whilst looking around online trying to find not only a course that suited my flexibility needs but also a course that I could start immediately. A lot of courses offered by other institutions only allow you to start at certain times of the year, usually September. That did not suit my requirements so the flexibility given by Academy online learning allowed me to start immediately after my first payment.
It allowed me the flexibility
Why did you choose to do an access course at level 3 instead of A-levels?
I chose to do an online access course because, primarily because it allowed me the flexibility to do bits as and when I had time. There have been occasions when I have been able to do assignments after assignments and there has also been occasions I have had to take a certain time out because I have needed to take the break from what I have been doing.
You’re referring to The flexibility whilst studying an Access to Higher Education Diploma with Academy Online Learning that allows you to pause your studies. I should mention that this has been particularly useful for our students in the military, for when they have deployments. Or if a student who has started their course whilst being pregnant have been able to take a break around the birth of their child and then pick up their studies later. So it’s great to hear that you’ve been able to fit your study time around your job.
You said you 'scraped through your GCSEs, like many of us at school never doing the homework or coursework’ and ‘managing to pass an exam.’ Can you tell us a bit about that?
My background in education wasn't very good. When I was at high school I was not interested in doing homework, I don't think I even did a piece of homework I think I may have done one piece of coursework. I hated doing work at home, I wouldn't do it. That experience has come back and haunted me today. I was always good at exams. I got all the grades from the back of exams at school. I had to do the exams because they forced me to do them, I'm glad they did looking back at it. It comes back to the old saying you can't put a wise head on young.
Able to be more independent with my learning
How did you find the assessment process for studying on the diploma?
A lot all the assessment processes for studying, I had mixed feelings because when I started it was quite daunting that I now have a whole year to do this diploma. I did feel a little out of my depth having not studied for nearly 20 years. I was unsure of a lot of stuff I had to do but as I went along on the course it developed my personal skills, I was able to be more independent with my learning which is something I'd never done before. I hat to make time to do the work. Studying at home was a whole new philosophy only because it's something I've never done before. I'd never had to go out of my way to studying at home. So me I had to get out of the job I am in. I've been doing my job now for 16 years a post man and I don't like the way the company is going with all the changes that are going on. I need to get out of my job. It coincided with my lease running out on my house in August so for me it gave the push that I needed something different.
Failure was not an option
You said that, to paraphrase, failure was not an option and you had to apply yourself for your family as well as for yourself. What has made you come back to studying at this time in your life?
For me failure, I couldn't fail. Failure was not an option for me doing this course. I thought everything I had into this course and I've never applied myself such a way and I got the grades I deserved. I worked hard and for us as a family I didn't picture that I would have to reinvent myself at nearly 40 years old. I just thought I would meander through life and what happens, happens. But it's took a turn a few curve balls have been thrown my way. I'm now at the point where I have to do something about it. I have found a job that I’m hopefully going to enjoy, which is always half the battle. Working with people that are professional people. I have spent my academic career being told by many teachers ‘Alan needs to apply himself’, ‘Alan needs to try’, 'if Alan tried he would do well’ and I never have. This is the first time I can honestly say I have what is my energy in to something and I've done pretty well.
I have got the grades I need to go to university and study
What was your expectation of studying online?
I never had any expectation as to what studying online would be. I did a bit of research into what it entails and it was our lot of independent learning where you would have a tutor on hand if you needed. A bit of guidance on a subject. I have had to speak to tutors in relation to guidance because this is all new to me. So the guidance was very much appreciated and definitely helped me on my journey. I have got the grades I need to go to university and study. I'm hoping I can graduate really well from university with the experience I've now had on this course. I hope this now gives me a better platform for the future and better start for my family which is all I can ask for.
Alan, it has been a pleasure talking to you and thank you for your time. I wish you all the very best with your university studies and on your new career.