HARTLEPOOL student Laura Blackett is the new face of an award-winning project encouraging people who have struggled academically to make the leap into higher education.
Over the next 12 months, 22-year-old Laura will be one of eight students to feature in the University of Sunderland’s Lives Online project, which will see her blogging and creating videos about her time at University.
Laura thought her chance of getting into university had gone after she dropped out of a college course.
She was working as a finance officer for the fire brigade, and harbouring dreams of something more – but unsure of her next move.
“I liked the people, but the job just wasn’t for me,” she said.
“I have always wanted to do social work, but I dropped out of college.
“So I questioned what I was actually able to do.
“The University of Sunderland looked at my experience. I had done voluntary work at the council on a young person’s project, and I cared for my grandad as well.”
Laura, now in the second year of her degree in social work, is already a student ambassador at the university, and saw the Lives Online project as the next step in her University of Sunderland experience.
“I want people to think that they can go to university, and that you don’t have to be one particular type of person like I thought you did; you can take other routes to get there,” she said.
“I would like it if they looked at my blog and thought ‘I want to come to Sunderland’.”
Lives Online follows students sharing their experiences at the university during the course of one academic year. Last year’s blogs received over 30,000 visitors.
As well as Laura, the site will feature blogs by two students studying pharmacy, and one each studying computer forensics, applied business management, English and creative writing, magazine journalism and film and media.
Meet all the Lives Online bloggers and see their posts at http://livesonline.sunderland.ac.uk/