In this blog, I am going to be talking about what it is like for someone like me as a care-experienced person, to be applying for a PhD course at university. This can be a big step for many people as it means that they are getting to where they want to go, but for a care leaver who has come from nothing and who has had a really bad life when being brought up, the fact of achieving and getting two degrees before applying for PhD is an achievement, but not many people can see it like that. This is why in this blog; I am going to be talking about what it was like for me to apply from my own personal views and experiences. I hope that this blog can inspire readers to know that even though you are a care-experienced person, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on what you want to do.
Over the last six months, I was contemplating whether I wanted to study at PhD level, because of just completed four years at university jumping from institution to institution of education and not taking any time out to work or even to relax before starting again. In the end, I decided that I was going to apply to study for the 2023 intake next September, as it would allow me to plan and write my research proposal over the next year. As a care leaver, the statistics show that between 25-30% of care experienced people across the UK will undertake university in their lives, but for those who actually end up going into MA level or even complete a PhD degree at university is even lower, because of the stress of going through the courses and feeling that they cannot actually complete the course or feel that it was too hard for them.
Personally, I have to admit that being in university can be very hard, especially for us as care leavers, because we are away from home, but also a lot of the time we never know what we can do during the summer months, because we have left our placements and we haven’t got anywhere to go, so due to this, we are required to get a year’s tenancy within our chosen halls of residence to last us until our new tenancy starts in the following academic year.
When I started applying for my PhD course, the application was really stressful, but I know I needed to do something that I was passionate about, which was all about the creative arts, but also showcasing what it is like for people in care to make people aware of what life can be like for us. This is a hard thing to do a lot of the time, but to actually write a proposal about this and getting it approved by the university course lead, was harder as I needed to make the project completely accessible and realistic for me to complete in the four to six years of the course duration.
Being able to find the confidence to apply for a huge durational course and want to stick at it, but also to find a topic that you enjoy and want to research, is a big deal as a care experienced person, especially as sometimes people can make you feel that you cannot do what you want to do, but also make you think that you are going to fail. I have had this all my life, but the truth is, the pain and hurt that they caused me, just made me more determined to get to where I want to be, and this is why I went to university and am now about to do a PhD because this is where I want to be. I was able to use the pain they caused to hurt me and channel it into something to give me the confidence to do what I want to do.
This is why I want to take the opportunity in this blog to say to the readers who are care experienced and even those who are not…. Do not give up on what you want to do just because of your history and the pain you are experiencing. Make sure to channel it into something good just like I did, because by doing this you can change something bad into something amazing.
Always remember that you are always the stronger person to get to where you want to be than the people who hurt you.
By Anonymous Care Experienced Blogger