Alan Campbell
Humanities - Langside 2009-10 > History and Politics - University of Strathclyde
Alan is a 39-year-old married father of three from the Pollok area of Glasgow. He is the youngest of six children and the only one of his siblings who didn’t progress to FE or HE after secondary school.  His father, a painter and decorator, and his mother, a part-time collections agent, had high expectations of him, perhaps fostered by his good performance in primary school and in the early years of secondary school.  Family problems and the disruption of moving to the other side of the city took its toll on him, however, resulting in a “disastrous” 5th year at school.  Although he continued to study and to do his school work, he wasn’t coping very well and “totally blanked” when it came to exam time. “My parents expected me to go to university like all my brothers and sisters but then I flunked all my Highers -- because I’m a bottler when it comes to exams!”

He didn’t immediately abandon the idea of further education. On the promise of being sent to college to become a surveyor, he took a job as an assistant property manager. The company failed to follow through on the offer, however, so he moved on to a job as a civil servant, where he remained in employment for the next 20 years.

With a family to look after, he felt stuck. “I hated it, to be honest. I was desperate to get out but, financially, I couldn’t have left it.” Things began to change when his wife (who worked for the same company) accepted voluntary redundancy and embarked upon an Access to Nursing programme at Langside College. Just as she was finishing her course, Alan was also offered a voluntary redundancy, and decided to follow her example.

He enrolled on the Access to Humanities programme at Langside and says, “I really enjoyed it. I had helped my wife with proofreading her work when she was studying, and the teachers at Langside were very clear about what to expect at university, so I felt confident when I left college that I could go to uni and do well.” He applied to five universities in the West of Scotland and received offers from all of them, opting in the end to accept a place at the University of Strathclyde, where he has done very well indeed, with “A” grades on all of his marked coursework so far. 

Alan is studying History, Politics and Sociology and is very much enjoying the work. He also appreciates the fact that he has plenty of time to decide on his choice of Honours subjects.  Whenever he feels a bit uncertain about the assignments he is given at university, he finds inspiration by looking back at his college coursework, which he feels prepared him very well for university.  “I can give SWAP 100% backing – it’s the best thing I’ve ever done, without a doubt.”
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