Joanne Hulley decided it was time for a change after 20 years as a medical secretary.
She took the plunge and opted for a complete career change. Now she has completed a masters degree in international criminal justice and has just secured a scholarship to begin a PhD in criminology.
Joanne, aged 42, from Chapeltown, said: “I had been out of education for almost 20 years. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled by my role, and I couldn’t really see any progression.
“I’d always been interested in psychology but never thought I’d be able to work in that area. Then one day I realised that I just had to change what I was doing.
She quit her job, and enrolled at Northern College in Barnsley to do a certificate of higher education – the first step on her way towards a university degree.
“I talked to a career advisor at college and then went along to an open day at Sheffield Hallam. This was a real revelation, and after speaking to the lecturers there, it was clear that there was only one option for me. I’m so glad that I did it. I took an opportunity and grabbed it with hands.”
After completing the certificate in HE, Joanne enrolled on a full time degree in criminology and psychology, completing the course last year, and straight away starting her masters programme.
“I’ve worked hard and getting the academic qualifications has been fantastic but the whole learning experience has helped me to feel more confident and fulfilled. It’s changed my outlook on life and I’m ready for new challenges.”
Joanne desperately wants to remain in the academic world when she finishes her masters and plans to become a lecturer in the subject she has devoted her studies to.
Now she’ll get the opportunity to try this out for the first time as part of her PhD work.
“I’m really excited to be starting some teaching as part of my PhD. I’ll be lecturing to undergraduate students soon, and also supervising some final-year dissertations. It’s nervewracking but I’m ready for the challenge.
“My tutor Paula Hamilton has been a real inspiration and has been a mentor for me throughout my studies.
“She’s definitely had an impact on my decision to remain involved in the academic side and go on to study a PhD.”
Sheffield Hallam offers one of the widest ranges of part-time and postgraduate courses in the UK. It is holding an open day today, Thursday.