Determination was the key for north London grandmother and mother of four Vee Holder as she demonstrated that you can go back to higher education and succeed despite significant setbacks and obstacles, after she graduated from Middlesex University.
Personal tragedy, illness and a complicated divorce were not going to get in the way of Vee completing her degree in early childhood studies – the first time she’d been in full-time education for decades.
Going through a complicated divorce was not the ideal start to her return to education, and having already deferred her place at Middlesex University by a year, Vee decided to press ahead with her degree after encouragement from lecturers at Middlesex.
It was not plain sailing as Vee was becoming increasingly ill and was admitted into hospital in May 2012, where cancer cells were found – just six weeks later she went under the knife for a major operation. She suffered other major setbacks during her studies, her sister was diagnosed with cancer, and there was family tragedy when her uncle passed away.
Vee (47) from Barnet said: “I was told that it would take me approximately a year to recover because of the extent of the surgery undertaken, and I was afraid that I would not be able to complete the given assignments, let alone start and complete my third year. Members of staff at Middlesex have been truly amazing I was given a lot of support by my tutors and I am eternally grateful to them.
“When I came for the induction I explained my situation to one of the tutors who encouraged me to come on the course, stating that it would give me a focus. I started my first year with reservations. I was a mature student who had not been in full time education for many years. I was a little scared.”
Vee is now hoping to at some stage in the near future do a masters degree which she says “would complete my dream”.