Student battles adversity for online degree

A University of Derby Online Learning (UDOL) student has talked of how she has battled adversity to give herself a real chance of a rewarding career

Sheree Hatton, 24, from Halifax, left school after completing her GCSEs to become a carer for her mother at home. But, such was her desire to become a forensic psychologist, Sheree taught herself A-level psychology and law whilst also working in a full-time position.

Juggling caring for her mother, working in a full-time job and studying for her A-levels did not stop her achieving a C grade for each course and she is now studying a BSc degree in Psychology online from home with UDOL, as well as expecting a baby. 

Sheree told her story whilst on a residential week at the University of Derby’s Kedleston Road site, where she and her fellow students gathered for a week of practical work.

The former Crossley Heath Grammar School student, who has now reached the end of her second year with UDOL, said: “Once I completed my GCSEs I became a young carer for my mum. I also had to work full-time and once I’d got into a job and was settled I decided to teach myself my A-Levels out of a book. I later sat them as a private candidate at one of my local schools in Halifax.

“I think I probably had more motivation to complete these courses as I was doing them off my own back. So after getting my results I thought, I’ve done my A-Levels, why don’t I try a degree? 

“I had always had an interest in psychology so I had a look around to see what was available online as I couldn’t afford to give up working and physically go to university. I was in a very secure relationship with my now husband and it was just not feasible for me to go and live away and work part-time.

“I researched course providers with the British Psychology Society as I wanted an affordable, accredited degree and the course offered by Derby was a perfect fit alongside my day job – it was my first choice. I also realised it is only a couple of hours away on the train if I needed to go there.”

During the residential week, students came from as far as Brazil and Kenya to take part in this important stage of their course. They worked in a group as part of a data collection project. The students were also given lectures on statistics and data research.

Sheree added: “I initially wanted to work in a job within the forensic psychology field after I graduate, but currently I’m happy studying alongside my current employment. I will finish this course then look at studying a Masters degree and see where it takes me.”