Changing her life by degree

Mature OU graduate Pamela Coyne
Mature OU graduate Pamela Coyne

There’s no stopping Milton Keynes mother-of-two Pamela Coyne now she’s got her degree.

The 64-year-old graduated with a BA (Hons) in Humanities with Literature on October 1 – which is, appropriately, Older People’s Day.

“It was one of the best days of my life,” she smiled, “It was really exciting – and all about me for a change.”

Ever since leaving school with a handful of ‘0’ levels, Pamela’s hankered after higher education – even though she had an immensely successful career, first in banking and then in training.

But her lack of qualifications always bothered her and she claimed: “I felt slightly undervalued as a result.”

Pamela was brought up in the 1950s and it was her brother who went off to university.

Then she had two daughters and her ambitions once again took a back seat.

“As a lone parent, my financial resources were poured into their education,” she recalled.

“I attended two graduation ceremonies and watched both daughters hurl their caps in the air, wishing I was in their shoes and thinking I could do this: I’m organised, interested in learning and self-motivated.”

But it wasn’t until she retired that Pamela finally followed her deam and enrolled at the OU.

“I cannot describe my excitment when I opened the first book and started my adventure,” she said.

“There were times when I floundered. It was hard work and really difficult because I hadn’t studied for 40 years. But it’s all been worth it.”

Pamela has recently passed her competency as a counsellor and would like to work with students.

She explained: “I’m a great champion of the OU and they need people who will listen to young people and understand what they’re going through.”

She’s also signed up for a forensic psychology course, is working on the family tree and volunteers for Age UK.