What was my turning point?

My experience being a care leaver and doing a degree.

I feel that my journey through education has been a struggle and I have had to attend extra lessons throughout secondary school and have a tutor in order to pass my GCSEs as my primary years were very limited. Thankfully I had a very inspirational teacher throughout secondary school, who helped me with reading, writing and homework. This then allowed me to get the grades I needed to get into the sixth form that I wanted where my personal tutor helped me realise that I could go to university. I feel this was the main turning point that made me realise I should go to university. Before this conversation I didn’t feel that ‘someone like me’ could go to university. I felt that I was not academic enough, my background, and that ‘people like me’ just don’t go to university. After thinking about this, I could see that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel and that my dream of becoming a Speech and Language Therapist could actually come true and it did not have to only be a dream.

I was very fortunate with the foster carers that I lived with as they supported me throughout my education and helped me believe in myself. My aspirations came from my younger foster sister as she needed to have an SLT while growing up and I saw how they would help her to communicate, and it was amazing. I wanted to help her further and help others in the future.

I am now on the last stretch of my journey of becoming a SLT, after 2 years of sixth form, 3 years of a Health and Social care undergraduate degree and I am now in my 4th year of Speech and Language Therapy, and this summer I will be a fully qualified Speech and Language Therapist. I hope that I can help people to communicate in the future and help
people as much as I have been helped since being a care leaver. I would like to say that I have had great support from my foster family, my personal advisor, and teachers throughout my journey.

My main turning point throughout my education was when I was at sixth form, and I had the conversation with my personal tutor about jobs and university and she gave me the spirt and belief that I COULD GO TO UNIVERITY! I didn’t want to repeat the vicious cycle that society had pinned on care leavers for years; that they won't amount to anything, won’t have a job, or a caring family. I am a huge believer that each individual can change their path with support and confidence in themselves.

I also feel that I am living proof that any one can go to university if they really want to, and I find it really exciting that I am part of the 13% of care leavers that attend university. I hope that in years to come this figure changes as university really can be the best time of your life and will also give people so many more options in adulthood and when leaving foster care.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

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