Nneka's Story: Aiming High with Access Story 4 of our 110 Stories series #Fircroft110 Nneka came to Fircroft as a mature student, and had been out of education for some years. She totally lacked confidence and so started on one of our short courses first. What did Nneka decide to do next? She gave up her home and job and become a full time resident at the college so that she could fully concentrate on her studies. She moved in, settled down and the rest is history. She has been a total inspiration to all of our Access students. She has run study groups, helped others with their assessments and supported her peers who are experiencing difficulties. She has also been an inspiration to her own family especially her son and granddaughter who have been inspired by her studying. It wasn’t all plain sailing for Nneka. She worked hard to keep up to date when personal tragedy struck. Happily, Nneka has since obtained a place at Birmingham City University to read Black Studies, so that she can use her new-found knowledge to improve the lives of her community. - I finished school at 14 – I didn’t complete school nor do any exams. I had not been back into a learning environment until April 2017 when I came on a short course at Fircroft College. Even coming on the first course was difficult – I cried before I came and whilst I was here, I felt totally out of my depth. On the first course, I had a panic attack whenever the tutor moved away from my side – she had to sit beside me. Everyone else seemed to understand the language except me. It was frightening. I had been in a management position in work, held leadership roles throughout my adult life. I felt like I was 14 again without a clue of what was going on. On completion of the course, I decided to pursue the next course as education was something I wanted to do. That opened the door to doing the Access to HE course. My motivation was my granddaughter and the acknowledgement of the reality of the importance of sharing education and knowledge with her. I wanted to inspire her so that she knew it didn’t matter at what stage in life you’re at, you can go after your dreams. My desire is to go back to my community to people who may be disengaged or have dropped out of the education system, or have been caught up with the hardships in life to encourage them, mentor them, and support them to achieve their dreams and goals. "It doesn't matter what stage you are at in life, you CAN go after your dreams". Personally what it’s done for me; ‘there is life in the old brain after all’! In terms of me personally, I'm taking charge of my future and doing the things I’ve wanted to do for me. This has really increased my self-confidence; I no longer walk into a room and keep my head down. I used to not trust that I could hold my own with those people that I thought were educated. I used to feel shame. Now I feel confident. I am the one beginning conversations and although I have only just started my learning journey I am so full of new knowledge and new learning that it has given me a new lease of energy and excitement in engaging in conversations and inspiring people to take the leap. It has made a huge difference to my family and friends – it has inspired them to go for their dreams and goals. My son has wanted to go back to finish his studies and my granddaughter has been inspired to work hard as granny’s working hard. I know by the end of the journey I will be able to impact those like myself who have got lost in the education system to know it doesn’t need to be the end of their story. - Do you want to be part of the 110 Stories series? Send us your story by clicking the link below: #MyFircroftStory Want to find out more about Fircroft? We host Access Taster Days throughout the year, with the next one on Thursday 16 May. Register today to find out more and get involved. We’ll welcome you with open arms.