Skip to main content

"There is no time limit on education"

Think it’s too late to change direction? Anna Green left education at 15, but now aged 27 has recently graduated with a First in Psychology. This is her story.

Anna Green

I grew up in a working-class family and struggled to fit in at school

As a teenager, I could barely concentrate. I got into fights with other children and by the age of fourteen was struggling severely with my mental health. By the age of 15 I left mainstream education – for what I thought was for good. But aged 19, the opportunity to take GCSE’s and A-Levels at college arose. I began studying but lacked direction and motivation, and abandoned education once again, working in hospitality until the age of 23 when I decided to give it another shot. I completed an Open University access course in People, Work and Society, and then decided to apply to Birkbeck.

University was a turning point for me

I was so happy when Birkbeck accepted my application, and I am grateful that they saw beyond just my grades and factored in my life experience too. At university I really felt I established my identity and became independent. I chose to study Psychology because I wanted to use my experiences to help other people going through similar mental health challenges.

The great thing about Birkbeck is that it really allows you to balance work, volunteering and studying

My days were busy but rewarding. I spent a few days a week working as a support worker for people who had acquired brain injuries, which was relevant to my degree and an opportunity that I stumbled across at Birkbeck’s Careers Fair. I also volunteered for Childline as a counsellor and tutored primary school children maths online through the pandemic.

Making friends for life

I made friends quickly through my course and with Birkbeck being based in the centre of London, I socialised a lot in picturesque pubs in Bloomsbury and enjoyed visiting famous London landmarks.

The course was challenging, but I was able to seek help
I was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which explained a lot and helped me understand myself. I applied for Disabled Student’s Allowance and was granted weekly study skills support and a mentor. With the help of Birkbeck’s Disability Service, I was able to graduate with a First-Class Honours.

There is no time limit on education
Sometimes it’s best to wait until you feel ready. My confidence has transformed over the last three years. I’m now planning to do a Master’s in Forensic Psychology and get a place on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. I couldn’t recommend Birkbeck enough to any mature student.

Think you’re too busy to change your life? Think again.