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Caitlyn’s Story: Studying BA (Hons) Interior Design with Foundation Year as a Mature Student at ARU College

Hello, my name is Caitlyn, and I would like to share my ARU College journey with you. It's a tale spanning for more than 10 years, full of twists, challenges, and ultimately, fulfilled dreams.

It began over a decade ago when I decided to apply to university to study Interior Design. After school, I chose this path fuelled by my innate creativity. Excited that I would soon be doing something I loved, I eagerly awaited the start of a life filled with parties and social events – at least, that was what mattered most to me back then!

However, things took an unexpected turn. Despite the signs pointing to stress related to university applications, to my dismay, it turned out to be a pregnancy. What about my plans, dreams, and future? Everything seemed lost. Nevertheless, I welcomed my baby into the world. My plans for hitting the books were replaced with hard work, pregnancy, and then caring for my child.

Not too long after this, the news arrived that one of my siblings had been accepted into university. While I celebrated their success wholeheartedly, it reignited the sadness of unfulfilled dreams about my own future.

Over the years, I achieved professional stability, and my child was growing up. I found myself burned out professionally, living in the vibrant city of Cambridge, watching hundreds of students pass me by every day. It reminded me of the promise I made to myself. I attended open days, looked around, contemplated, but I didn’t submit any applications. I thought I was too old, not good enough, and questioned the purpose of starting anew.

More years went by, my child started secondary school, and I still lived with my unfulfilled dream. My child was getting an education, and all I wished for them was to attend university. Repeating the mantra of how education is crucial in life and the opportunity to benefit from it, I heard from my child that nothing was stopping me from going to university.

I finally decided to apply. And I GOT IN! Now, after half a year of studying, I feel like I’ve reclaimed my life.

My story is a bit unconventional, but I see the positives of studying as an older person after these years of experience. Starting university with a Foundation Year provided me with a great opportunity to improve my drawing skills. The awesome teachers not only help me academically but have also helped support me with my personal growth.

The crucial thing is to always fight for our dreams and strive to fulfil them. If your plans don’t work out initially, perhaps it’s worth considering that it’s not the right time yet.


-Caitlyn White BA (Hons) Interior Design with Foundation Year, Cambridge
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