Enrolling on her first degree with Arden University at the age of 75, Val Bishop says studying has boosted her confidence and is recommending people of ANY age should study for a degree,
‘You have to get on with life, otherwise you get bored to death - and to be honest, I was sitting at my computer at home when I thought there was more to life. I wanted to do something that was really going to tax my brain and really get me more involved in something else.
I had promised myself that one day, I would be able to complete a degree course, no matter what my age. I’m a Liverpool Art College trained designer and hold a diploma in health education from Liverpool John Moores, but getting a university degree is something I had always wanted to do but never managed.
I was looking at courses on the basis of having minimal formal qualifications, but a wealth of experience. My husband, who is a retired doctor, was very supportive in researching my options.
I got a verbal offer from a local university, which was physically closer to our village of Llangernyw in Snowdonia, but that involved having to travel to their campus. That didn’t really suit me, so I keyed in online degrees and came to Arden University and found a BA honours degree in business and tourism. It’s distance learning, which suits me and I can take it at my pace.
Studying for a degree has given me an amazing amount of confidence. I’ve always been less than confident and carried that with me through life. I have had the competency, but never had the confidence to present before – but that has changed thanks to this course. That’s what it is all about.
Sometimes I think ‘Oh no, I have to get back to study,’ and then when I start, I can’t stop. I really enjoy researching and writing about companies that we have to examine as part of the course. A recent one was about Morgan cars, which was easy because my father used to collect them and I’ve also had two in the past.
There is a range of ages on the course, from 18 to 30-year-olds and older, and there are students from all over the world. It was funny because one lady doing the course was described as an old lady, but she’s only 52. The technology is okay to use, and I taught myself about computers. I do find that I need to make sure that I’ve sent essays off, but that’s just me being overly careful. I’ve just completed my first year.
There are flexible grants and loans available, including for older people, and Arden University has helped guide me through that process.
I have to admit, the course is a lot more about the business side of things than I first anticipated, but I enjoy it all the same and if nothing else, it’s cleared the cobwebs away,’ she said.
Without exception, the tutors have been extremely encouraging and available and that really has made all the difference. I don’t think I would have stuck with it if it wasn’t for them, I really don’t.’
I feel that I want to tell the world that this is what I’m doing and to say to people to try it yourself. If I can back to learning at 75 with Arden, anyone can whatever their age. I would have to say you owe it to yourself.
I can’t tell you how enthusiastic my friends are about what I’m doing and they’re now thinking about whether they can make time to do a course. There’s nothing stopping you and sitting down and - instead of reading your novel for example - doing something like this because you won’t believe what you get out of it’