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Trish Bishop

BSc (Hons) Psychology with Criminology

What appealed to you about Northumbria University / studying in Newcastle?

I am from Newcastle and I have children so it was the most suitable place.

What was it about the course / subject area that particularly appealed?

I have always been interested in how the mind works, why people commit crimes and why we do everyday things and what drives us to do these things. I worked in a taxi office for 23 years as a desk clerk and throughout my working life I always read books about serial killers, crimes and other books of such but I never thought for a minute I could ever come to university and get a qualification and then make a career out of it. I've volunteered all my life, also working with animals and wildlife.  I'm currently a border for the guide dogs for the blind. I've always wanted to give something back to the community but didn’t think I had it in me.

I lost my job a year and a half ago and as I had no qualifications I decided to get my Maths and English. I succeeded, then decided to do the community and public service access course at Rye Hill College. I did really well and my tutor encouraged me further to come into HE. I never believed it possible but here I am and I've never been happier and more self content than I am now. This is my biggest achievement since having my children.

What qualifications did you have?

I applied through UCAS after my HEFC Community and Public Services course which I completed with four Distinctions and three Merits

How did you feel during your first week at Northumbria?

I was nervous when I first came as I didn’t think I belonged here. I thought I was too old but after meeting some friends and my tutors I soon found this is where I belong. It took me two days to settle in and I love it.

What do you like most about the course?

I enjoy learning, reading and finally having self-worth. This is what this course has done for me.

Can you give an example of a piece of work you’ve been involved with recently?

I have only been doing lab skills work at the moment and taking notes for my essays but everything I need to complete the tasks are here on campus. Anything I don’t understand my tutors are on hand to help, they tell you to make an appointment but I've never had to, there is always someone around to guide you in the right direction.

How do you get on with your tutors?

My tutors are great, at first there was one or two I was unsure of, but now I know them I'm not afraid to have a laugh and joke with them. They have really put me at ease. They are always there to give me a helping hand, encourage me and reassure me. From my guidance tutor to every tutor I have in my modules they are all really supportive - I never expected that from university life. They are really good and I can't thank them enough for helping me fit in to University.

Do you have the opportunity for any work placements during your course?

Yes we can have placements in prisons and young offenders institutes. I haven’t signed up for any yet as I am also a student rep for my course and I don’t want to take too much on and find I can't give my best at what I am doing. I am going to sign up next year for a work placement.

What do you do when you’re not studying?

I have two children so my life outside of uni is revolved around them and I also go out socialising with friends. I am a big fan of mma and I do a lot of promoting and selling tickets for that so my life is pretty hectic. With my children and the guide dogs I haven’t got any time for anything else as I do a lot of reading for my course.

What would you like to do when you graduate?

I want to go into counselling or probation with hardened criminals. 

Do you have any advice for anyone applying for your course, or for university in general?

Don’t be afraid, joining university has literally changed my life. I am more happy now than I have ever been. The feeling of self worth is amazing and hearing my 18 year old son tell me he is so proud of all I have achieved so far is the biggest gift of all. June 2009 I did not have one qualification - the only test I ever passed was my driving test. I left school at 14 with nothing, now I have my level 2s in English and Maths and a Diploma in Community and Public Services. In three years time I will be a graduate. My only regret is I wish I had done this sooner. There's more to life than what I had, you just have to take the plunge and go for it as it's never too late!

What three words would you use to describe your time at Northumbria?

One big rollercoaster (that I never want to get off).

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