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I didn’t think at this stage of my life would involve me going back to study, but it’s a decision I’m so happy I made.

Tell us about your journey

Sharon was contemplating going back to studying, but it took her several years before she finally decided to take the plunge and register with the OU.

Since leaving school Sharon has been working in performing arts – singing, dancing, and acting. She was classically trained and danced with various companies in her early twenties and thirties. She is now semi-retired, but still teaches and performs, and has worked with some high-profile actors during her career.

“I enjoyed my time at school, as I was really keen to learn and motivate myself in achieving,” said Sharon. “My favourite subjects were history, arts, English, sports, music and, of course, drama. I was fastest in my school and often won trophies, medals and lots of competitions. I guess you could say I was extremely competitive and didn’t like losing!”

“I felt the time was right for me study and I was looking for courses to apply for when some information about the OU’s Black Students Support Fund popped up. I knew that the flexibility of OU study would suit me as I would still be able to manage my studies, work and live, and manage all the things going on in my life at the moment!”

Sharon was extremely happy and grateful when she heard that she had been awarded a scholarship, as she explained, “The scholarship takes a lot of pressure off me financially, mentally and emotionally as well, and I can work part-time whilst completing my studies.

“I feel more like a student now, then I did 6 months ago. The beginning was challenging for me as I felt overwhelmed at all the books and information coming my way, the constant emails etc. As I am settling into my routine now, I don’t feel so overwhelmed and happier about studying and enjoying the journey and learning new and interesting topics.

“My family and friends are very proud of me of going back to education after a very long period of time. They are my support team and my biggest cheerleaders.  I am thankful that I have such wonderful support.”


Sharon is studying for a BA (Hons) in Arts and Humanities and is hoping for a complete career change when she finishes her studies as she knows that having a degree will open more doors for her.

“I am also thankful to the supporters of the OU’s Black Students’ Support Fund. This has really helped me pursue my studies. If it wasn’t for programmes like this, it would be difficult to go back into higher education and I am very grateful for the scholarship fund.

“A lot of people from African and West Indian backgrounds feel that specific opportunities are not readily available to them and education being a big one. This scholarship programme is beneficial in giving some people an opportunity to accomplish and further themselves. As a recipient of the scholarship programme, I would say it’s definitely needed.

“It’s not easy but I’m enjoying every moment of it. I didn’t think at this stage of my life would involve me going back to study, but it’s a decision I’m so happy I made.”

Published: 18 October 2023