Fiona Maisey

Photograph of Fiona

Department: English
Course: BA (Hons) English Literature
Year of Study: 1st Year
Age: 36

After working in a bank for nearly 20 years I decided I needed a career break and travelled around the world for a year. This inspired me to do other things, so upon my return I went back to work part time but also started an Access course in Humanities at a local college.

I was impressed by the reputation of The University of Sheffield, and whilst I received offers from other local universities I had waited such a long time to return to study I wanted to take advantage of what I see as the best option and choose The University of Sheffield.

Studying at University is very different to studying at college and I found it a huge jump. At college you have a large volume of work but you are spoon fed along the way. At university it is very much down to the individual to manage their time and workload, which if you don´t get right it can be a nightmare – but it is also a motivating factor and it has taught me to manage my time for effectively.

I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the work load and when the first essays were due in I was convinced I wouldn´t be capable of this standard of academic work. I decided to talk to my seminar tutor who was very supportive and understanding and he convinced me that the University hadn't made a mistake in offering me a place and that I would be fine.

There are some great tutors in the English department. They are all passionate about their subject and I have found them very supportive and encouraging – they are human too! I really enjoy the seminars as it is interesting to hear how other students interpret things, which often stimulates further avenues of my own thoughts.

When I finish I hope to become a writer, which I know is very competitive, so I am also considering teaching. I am also beginning to feel that I may not want to leave when I finish my degree, so I will see what further postgraduate courses I can take – if my marks allow!

I am living in my own home whilst studying and have found the balancing act between family and study very difficult. During term time my family and friends have slightly taken a back seat – but I have really enjoyed catching up with them during the summer and Christmas breaks. I am also very lucky that my partner is extremely supportive of me and my studies.

I still have to pinch myself when I think of myself as student at The University of Sheffield and studying for a degree. I am so grateful to have been allowed this opportunity, but also proud of myself for making it happen. It has been exhausting and stressful at times, but I feel it is worth it.