Brave Wendy achieves her dream
WHEN Wendy Allen's children headed to university, she decided to use the extra time to pursue her own dream of getting a degree.Now Ten years, six operations and a detached retina, she has reached her goal.
WHEN Wendy Allen's children headed to university, she decided to use the extra time to pursue her own dream of getting a degree.
Now Ten years, six operations and a detached retina, she has reached her goal.
Mrs Allen of Link Road, Capel St Mary, embarked upon her Open University educational adventure in 1992, catalysed by daughter Tammany's departure to Coventry University.
She has battled to achieve her target, which will be crowned on May 31 at Ely Cathedral when she receives her 2:1BSc (Hons) degree in maths and computing.
"I just always wanted a degree and the Open University course suited my lifestyle," she said. "After my daughter went away I had the time on my hands and I'm not one to sit watching the television, so it was a great motivation.
"I chose maths and computing basically because I find it the easiest, and I have A-Levels in Maths, Applied Maths and Physics. It was a lot of hard work, but I really enjoyed the challenge."
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But the path of learning did not always run smooth - the 56-year-old suffers from Crohn's disease, a debilitating condition which causes her small intestines to be blocked periodically,
leaving her doubled up in pain.
As a result, Mrs Allen, who works for Suffolk County Council, has to endure an operation to clear the blockage every two years and actually underwent six during her time studying.
"The best way I can describe it is that it's like the late stages of pregnancy," she explained. "Anyone who has been through that will now how painful it is.
"On the whole though, it didn't really affect my studies too badly, and I sometimes took my books with me when I was in hospital to keep me occupied.
"The Open University have been brilliant throughout and really supported me. Sometimes it was tough to get motivated to study and revising for exams was difficult, but with Open University courses, you can fit them around your life."
That flexibility came in useful, as Mrs Allen had to miss exams due to her illness and even missed out on a whole year of studying after she suffered a detached retina.
All her efforts have come to fruition now though, as she joins son Toby and daughter Tammany, both of whom also achieved a 2:1 degree.
"I'm very pleased that I've done it," she added. "I'm not sure if I'll do any more courses but I am really relieved that after all my problems, I've got there - it's very satisfying."
And Mrs Allen, who also runs leisure learning classes in Capel, had some advice for anyone thinking of signing up for an Open University course.
"Go for it," she said. "The support you receive is as much or as little as you want. I can't praise them enough.
"It really does give you a sense of achievement. I am living proof that, if you want something bad enough, you can do it."
For more information about Open University courses, call 01908 653231, or visit http://www.open.ac.uk.