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When I read the news that I had been awarded the scholarship for most promising student from an Access to HE qualification I was overwhelmed.

For me, getting to university itself was an accomplishment I was never sure I would achieve. Although I had a decent education, through my adolescent years, it is fair to say, I lost my way in life. After leaving sixth-form college, I got a job as a roofing carpenter, which meant I was earning a modest wage while learning a skill that will probably continue to be useful to me in the future; but the work itself was often mindless and repetitive.Tom-2011 My self-esteem was at a low-point; working in an industry with no great career progression, with a boss who constantly promised an array of opportunities that never came to fruition, if I “just stick around another couple of years”, was no great motivator, and soon enough I was dreading waking up each morning for work.Eventually I saw sense. I realised how integral work-life can be to everyday happiness and, after a year’s transition experimenting with various other career choices, I made the decision to study an Access to Higher Education course in Media Production – a subject I have maintained an analytical eye for since I was a child.

The course was the lifeline I needed. It allowed me to rekindle an old flame I feared I had lost forever. That flame was the desire to learn. Once I re-found it, there was no stopping me. I excelled in my studies at college that year and breathed a sigh of relief when I was accepted onto BU’s Television Production Course.

From there, and with confidence sky-high, I applied for all the grants, scholarships and bursaries I could find. I remember rating my chances of securing each subsidy that I applied for, so as to roughly gauge what my financial situation would be over the next three years.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Most-Promising Student Scholarship was rated lowest of all. I thought to myself, ‘it is so unlikely I will be awarded this honour out of all the access students, from every course, across the university,’ that I dismissed the notion all together. So, you can imagine my surprise when I received the confirmation email! I still remember reading it now with sheer excitement and disbelief.Tom-now

I guess the moral of this story is one of self-confidence. Securing this scholarship has taken a third off my university tuition fees and in doing so has eased some of that financial burden from my mind. I am 28 now, and thinking back to when I was 18 or 19, I never believed I could achieve the things I have in the last year.

Adolescence is a tough time, with lots of changes happening inside and out, but rest assured things can always improve. Life is always changing and your future is always what you make of it. The Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships are designed to give those who want it most the extra helping hand to achieve their dreams. In finding the confidence to apply, I have forged a better future for myself and I would recommend every budding undergraduate do the same.

By Thomas Stone

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