Northumbria University graduate and mature student reflects on her time there

Today we feature a guest post on behalf of Northumbria University graduate and proud mum, Sharon McKee, as she reflects on her time as a mature student.

I was a proud mama recently when my son graduated. It took me back to when I did my degree at Northumbria University, although I had a bit of a different experience to him. My son was a toddler when I started my degree, I was working full-time and a single parent. Life was pretty much full on – so why not throw something else into the mix and do a degree?!

I left school and went to college to pass my NCTJ certificate and become a journalist which I did for a few years. When I went to the ‘other side’ and started working in PR for a local council, I was keen to study part-time for something that would help me progress in this particular career and Northumbria had highly-regarded courses. My chosen subject was a BA(Hons) in Public Service Management, very relevant to what I was now doing and also a good balance of theory and practical.

While I may have missed out on the ‘fun times’ that young people going straight from school were having, being a ‘mature’ student meant that I knew why I was doing the course and that it was definitely the right fit for my career.

What I definitely didn’t miss out on was learning from knowledgeable and experienced lecturers, who were supportive and also understanding of the pressures of studying part- time.

Another big benefit was meeting other, mainly also mature students. We were mostly working in public sector organisations and as well as becoming great friends we were able to discuss and help each other, not just with our studies but also any issues we were having in our work.

For my dissertation I was able to choose a piece of research that was not just of interest to me but also relevant and useful to my job and for my organisation. It also helped me meet a range of people and widen my professional network.

While we may not have used the Student Union as much as our younger fellow students, we still managed to enjoy the perks of cheap drinks and nights out on many occasions!

Since I finished my degree, it’s with some pride I’ve watched Northumbria grow and go from strength-to-strength.

Whether you are going to university straight from school, as a mature student, whether you know just what you want to do, or you’re not sure, I’d recommend Northumbria University, Newcastle, as a great place to do your degree – I enjoyed it so much that I went back to do my Masters!

  • Northumbria University has a limited number of places available for high quality students through Clearing this summer. For more information, visit or call the Clearing Hotline on 0800 085 1085.




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