Pursuing a childhood ambition to be part of the public services, Lauren Shapcott joined the Royal Air Force as a military police officer. After five years, Lauren made the tough decision to leave the RAF and move back to her hometown of St Ives to raise her son and follow her lifelong dream of joining the territorial police force.
In finding that most of the jobs she was applying for required a degree, Lauren started looking into University courses and took a particular interest in the BA (Hons) Human Behavioural Studies course at Truro and Penwith College.
I quite like knowing why people act the way they do, and coming from a military policing background, I had always wondered why people commit crimes so this course really caught my eye.
After completing an Access to Higher Education course in Health and Social Care at Truro and Penwith College, Lauren had gained the qualifications to apply for a degree. Having particularly enjoyed the sociological and psychological aspects of the course, she decided to study the two-year HND Applied Psychology course at Penwith College and the one-year top-up course in BA (Hons) Human Behavioural Studies at Truro College.
Eager to return to education and cause as little disruption to her family life as possible, Lauren was glad to have had the opportunity to study for a degree in Cornwall. She said: “The progression route was easy and, having a young child to look after, being able to stay locally to study for my degree was fantastic.”
With the course condensed into just a few days a week, Lauren was able to dedicate her free time to her family: “The College really takes into consideration the fact that people have families and lives outside of the course. The 9.15am start and early finish, alongside the short week, was ideal; it really helped to keep the childcare costs down.”
Initially nervous about returning to education as a mature student, Lauren’s worries were quickly dispelled when she discovered that there was such a range of people on her course: “Being a mature student, I was a little apprehensive at first but it was really nice to study with people of all ages who were from all walks of life; there were even other people on my course who had children. This bettered the experience because even though everyone was in a different situation, we all wanted to achieve the same thing in the end.”
Lauren found the BA (Hons) Human Behavioural Studies course fascinating, learning how to understand why people are the way they are and how to respond so that she can take the most appropriate action. She found that being able to choose the modules she was studying really helpful in tailoring her education towards her career goals.
Finding strength in the support of her tutors, Lauren feels that she could not have got through the course without them. Recalling the many ways in which her tutors helped her, from difficulties with coursework to non-course related problems, Lauren knew her tutors where always there when she needed them.
The tutors get to know your personality and understand how you work. With smaller class sizes, the tutors can invest a lot more time in each student; if anyone was really stuck then they would explain it more in depth.
Looking back at her time on the course, Lauren is proud to see how far she has come. She said: “Never in a million years did I think that I would be capable of achieving a first class honours degree. It’s just the best feeling, knowing that every single day has been worth it and now I have a lot more self-confidence too.”
Although still eager to pursue a career in the police force, Lauren has developed such a strong interest in Psychology that she is considering studying a Master’s degree in the subject. She is even toying with the idea of studying for a Doctorate one day.
Having made full use of the support available at the College, and to have come so far, Lauren encourages anyone interested in studying a University course to follow their desires: “Just go for it, don’t think that you won’t manage to write an assignment or give a presentation because you will get enough support from the College. You can really surprise yourself with what you can achieve.”