Continuing our ‘Silence Your Critic‘ interview series, we recently spoke to Arden student Heather.

Heather is one of our second-year BSc (Hons) Psychology students, and she‘s succesfully transformed her personal struggles into stepping stones towards academic success.

You can watch our video with Heather here, and read her full interview below:

Heather's interview
Video • 1 min

Heather, can you share with us what motivated you to return to education after a 20-year gap?

Absolutely. Returning to study was a monumental decision for me. After teaching for 20 years, I faced significant mental health challenges that made me reconsider my career. Although teaching was my passion, it felt as though it was no longer sustainable. Losing that part of my life left a void, and I battled with self-doubt and a loss of identity. It was the intersection of my interest in understanding mental health and my educational background that led me to consider studying psychology at Arden.

That sounds like an important turning point. How did your initial contact with Arden University influence your decision to enrol here?

That first conversation was very important. Despite my doubts, the person I spoke to at Arden was incredibly supportive and encouraging. They ignited a spark in me, helping me to see that I could take this new path despite my fears. It’s fascinating how a single encouraging conversation can shift your perspective and help get rid of the loud voices of self-doubt.

Many adults returning to education worry about fitting studies into their life, especially if they have families or other commitments. How have you managed these challenges?

It's certainly not easy, but the flexibility that Arden offers has been crucial. I’m a mom of two, and balancing family responsibilities with my studies is a constant juggle. The option to attend live lectures or watch them recorded means I can adapt my study schedule around my children's needs and my own fluctuating moods related to my mental health.

Speaking of mental health, could you share how Arden’s support systems have assisted you during tougher times?

The support has been fantastic. Early on, I used the inclusion portal to discuss my needs, which was very reassuring. Knowing that there were provisions like the possibility of extensions on assignments and having a success coach helped me feel less overwhelmed. The accessibility and understanding from the staff have made a significant difference, ensuring I never felt alone in my struggles.

Have there been any significant milestones in your studies that have helped boost your self-confidence?

Definitely. Each positive feedback on assignments and improved grades helped reinforce my confidence. It’s more than just academic success; it’s about proving to myself that I can exceed my own expectations, despite the initial self-doubt.

It sounds like you’ve undergone a real personal transformation. How would you describe this change?

It’s been life-changing. I began this journey feeling like a part of me was missing, and now I see a future filled with possibilities. My studies have not only opened career doors but have also significantly improved my self-worth and mental health. It’s a testament to the fact that it’s never too late to change your path and rediscover your potential.

What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant about returning to education or starting a new path later in life?

Follow that inner spark. Don’t let self-doubt or the critic inside your head steer you away from potential opportunities. If you feel a pull towards something, explore it! Arden University provides the support and flexibility needed to balance life’s responsibilities while pursuing your academic and personal growth goals. It’s about taking that first step, even when it seems daunting.

Heather’s journey is a powerful reminder of the transformative impact of education and the importance of overcoming internal barriers. Arden University is proud to support students like Heather, helping them to navigate their paths and achieve remarkable personal growth and academic success.

If Heather’s story resonates with you, remember it's never too late to pursue your dreams or discover new ones!