Leanne Watson
Humanities at Reid Kerr (2008-9) * Social Sciences at GCU (2009-2013)
Leanne remembers being determined to finish school and get a good education but, for various reasons, “it just never worked out that way”. The idea of continuing on to college or university was never really discussed at home and she recalls that her friends and the people in her neighbourhood tended to prioritise employment over higher education. “I wanted to have a good education but a lot of things change your mind when you’re at school.  Your friends, the company you keep.  You see your friends making money and you’re still stuck at school....”  She left school with some standard grades and went straight to work in retail. It was only when she became a mother and found herself struggling to make ends meet that she started to reconsider her priorities. “I was a single mum with a wee boy in nursery and I really wanted to be able to provide for him, but at that point I had been 12 years out of education.”  

She found out about the SWAP programme when she contacted Reid Kerr College, and soon signed up for the Access to Humanities programme, which she enjoyed tremendously.
“Before I went to college I thought I would be the only one, but I found that everybody in my class was in the same boat and we were all returning to education after a long time. And we really relied on one another through that year.”  

She had intended to apply to study Primary Education at university but changed her mind and opted to aim for Social Work instead. Now in her fourth year at GCU, she is actually studying Social Sciences and is leaning more towards Child Psychology. She expresses appreciation for the flexibility of the SWAP programme in preparing her for a wide variety of university courses, and for the degree course at GCU which is allowing her to study a variety of modules before making up her mind.

Before she made the transition to university, Leanne admits that she was nervous, but she passed her first year with flying colours and continues to do well at university. “SWAP gave me the opportunity to get back into learning, and to learn valuable skills for studying --- and for life as well.  Being amongst other adults was really important to me. Now my son is in school and I am at university and I’m doing really well. Recently, I got the highest mark in the whole class for a lab report in Psychology, and that just proved to me that I am getting it. I love learning and when I get good marks I feel that I’m achieving something. Our SWAP programme at Reid Kerr College really prepared me very well.” 
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