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News: Study­ing a degree-lev­el course at Col­lege – in Sarah’s words

Please note: This news story may contain information that is no longer current or up to date.
Sarah Gotheridge

It can feel daunting going back into education as a mature learner, but it could be a turning point in your life which could completely change your future prospects.

47-year-old Sarah Gotheridge took the brave deci­sion to return to Col­lege to study a uni­ver­si­ty-lev­el course, and she told us that com­ing back to col­lege is the best thing she’s ever done. 

After grad­u­at­ing with a first-class BA (Hons) Art and Design (Fash­ion) degree with us in 2019, Sarah is now busy com­plet­ing a Mas­ters Degree at Not­ting­ham Trent Uni­ver­si­ty, along­side run­ning her own online business. 

She explains what it was like when she joined, and her expe­ri­ence study­ing towards a degree at Col­lege:

I loved the place from the first time I entered the Adams Build­ing for an inter­view. There’s a real sense of his­to­ry and cre­ativ­i­ty that comes from the loca­tion, which is placed right in the heart of the lace industry. 

There was a feel­ing of com­mu­ni­ty that was real­ly impor­tant to me as a return­ing mature stu­dent. I felt very anx­ious at the prospect of return­ing to edu­ca­tion and on the day I came for my inter­view, I hadn’t made my mind up if I was going to or not. But I left feel­ing excit­ed and reas­sured that it was the right decision. 

The Lec­tur­ers are knowl­edge­able, pas­sion­ate about the course and teach­ing, and they clear­ly care about the stu­dents as individuals. 

When I first vis­it­ed the stu­dios, the place was a hive of activ­i­ty, with a very diverse stu­dent pop­u­la­tion, and it just felt like a love­ly envi­ron­ment to be in. I didn’t even con­sid­er apply­ing else­where, I just knew Not­ting­ham Col­lege was the right place for me.” 

Along­side study­ing towards her Mas­ters, Sarah’s busy run­ning her online busi­ness sell­ing vin­tage-inspired bags and acces­sories, as well as pro­duc­ing hand­made laven­der bags for Kew Gar­dens’ gift-wear range. 

I love the free­dom of run­ning my own busi­ness and the sat­is­fac­tion it brings. Design­ing gifts for peo­ple to enjoy is a won­der­ful feeling. 

I’ve always known that I did­n’t want to work in high street or fast fash­ion because I’m more inter­est­ed in bespoke design. The course con­firmed that for me by giv­ing real insight into the fash­ion indus­try, enabling me to make more informed deci­sions about my future. 

Dur­ing the course, we cov­ered a wide area of sub­jects with­in fash­ion design, which real­ly enhanced my skill set. For me, the course struck a real­ly good bal­ance between devel­op­ing cre­ativ­i­ty and the prac­ti­cal skills need­ed to work with­in the fash­ion indus­try, what­ev­er sec­tor that may be. 

My tutors came from such a wide range of back­grounds and were always hap­py to share their expe­ri­ences of the real­i­ty of work­ing with­in the fash­ion indus­try, which they reflect­ed with the tasks giv­en for each project. 

Return­ing to edu­ca­tion was daunt­ing, but I’m so glad I did – I can hon­est­ly say that com­ing back to col­lege is the best thing I’ve ever done. 

 — Sarah
Published on:
  • 9th December 2020 (12:15 PM)
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