Marie's story 

Education has changed my life!

by Marie Smith

As a young child I was abused both physically and sexually; this affected my behaviour and I did not take my education seriously. I left school at an early age before taking any of my GCSE's. I later went through more physical abuse when I got married. I had 2 children and brought them up on my own after divorcing their father. I concentrated on being a good mother and protected my children from any of the dangers that I had faced growing up.

After my children left home I realised I had been scarred by the traumas I faced growing up. I became severely depressed and was unable to leave my house. I lived in my bedroom for years. I had suicidal thoughts every day.

I sought help through Healthy Minds Wolverhampton and I was allocated to Pond Lane Psychotherapy services. It was in one of my sessions that I was asked if I would like to join the Like Minds course at Adult Education Wolverhampton. I was informed that they were short courses to help me integrate with others and help me get out of the house. As soon as I heard Pottery was on offer all my reservations were gone.

I found peace through working with the clay. I was on a 10 week course and as the weeks passed I found myself becoming anxious at the thought that I would once again go back to being locked away from the world. I asked if I was able to join a course from the start ofSeptember. I did an entry test and enrolled onto the Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art & Design).

Since starting this course my life has meaning. I have not had one day off and I have had distinctions for all my work. Adult Education has given me my life back. I walk to college and I see so much beauty in this world, beauty that I wouldn't have seen prior to doing the Access course.

I have now been accepted at Wolverhampton University to do a degree in Applied Arts - Glass and Ceramics. I don't want to stop there. Once I have my degree I want to go on to do my Masters and PHD. My goal is to help others through education the way that it has done for me.

You realise as you get older that time is precious. I know what I want in life and I know where my journey is taking me. Adult Education has given me so much strength and determination. I can actually say ... "Education has saved my life".

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Were you once a student at Adult Education Wolverhampton, or perhaps still studying with us? We would love to hear your learning story about how you have progressed and how learning has helped to change your life for me better.