You can be kind of trapped into work when you are slightly younger. You think you will stay because you have friends there, but when you separate yourself out you have say to yourself 'I might see these people again, or I might not.'
I was 20 when I started here. I never thought I needed to come to university but where I was working it became apparent it was the next step rather than progressing through the business. I actually applied before I told my Mum and I said ‘Oh yeah Mum I’ve been accepted into university’ and she was really shocked but happy. No one in my family had been to university before.
Essex is everything I thought it would be and more. It's a little community, like a safe bubble. Everything is here and you don’t necessarily have to go into town to get stuff, so you don’t really need to leave if you don't want to.
The social aspect of it is really nice too, you get to know a lot of people from around the country and the world. Before I came here I spent all my time with the people I grew up with, so being here has opened my eyes to different sorts of communities and it has definitely made me want to go travelling.
A degree for me is a stepping stone into management and I hope to go straight back into work at that level or as an assistant manager. I hope my two years at work before my degree will give me a further advance over other people who haven’t had the experience I’ve had.
When I finish my degree next year I'll be ecstatic that I've made it. I think I'll be really proud of myself. Everyone has self doubts to a certain extent that they won’t get through it, but I've had no problems motivating myself to study as I know I will have a good career afterwards.