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Graduation stories – single mum completes full-time degree

20 August 2014

Kimberley Ewart successfully balanced full-time study, part-time work and raising her son as a single parent, graduating this summer with BA (Hons) Human Resource Management.

Here, she shares her story – and the challenges she overcame to cross the Caird Hall stage as a graduate of Abertay University.

How challenging was it to balance everything?

At times it was very difficult to balance all of these elements as each required your full attention. It caused me a lot of stress but it was usually short-lived stress as I just kept thinking about the end result and how rewarding it would be if I managed to achieve all of my goals.

Ultimately, I kept focused on the fact that gaining my degree would benefit my son and me in the long run and that made me feel better.

Did you ever doubt you’d complete your degree and make it to graduation?

I doubted my ability to complete my degree many times. This was mainly due to the fact I felt I had too much to juggle. Eventually, I decided to leave my telecommunications job. This was a tough decision as I'd worked for the company for six years and had lots of close friends there.

However, I took up a post with the NHS as a Domestic Assistant for a year which meant I only worked nights and so could concentrate solely on university during the day. This was important as by then I was in my 4th year and had to really focus on my university work.

What would you say to anyone thinking of studying, but worried about balancing university with personal challenges?

I'd say if studying at university is something you really, really want to do - then do it, otherwise you might regret it. It's not easy to balance things but if you speak to the university about what they can offer – like financial help with childcare costs – then it might not be as difficult as you think.

You could also speak to your employer about how flexible they can be in terms of your class timetable. My employers were always understanding, as much as they could be. Also, it helps if you have a supportive network of friends and family who can help you whilst you juggle things for a while! My lecturers and tutors were also really helpful and supportive.

What are your career plans for the future?

I've recently been successful in my application for the position of HR Assistant with the Scottish Social Services Council in Dundee. I'm really excited about my new job as it's a great opportunity to use the knowledge and skills I've gained while at university but also to learn more about HR first hand and develop professionally. I hope my career in HR will grow over time.

Is there one particular highlight, or moment you’ll always remember, from your time at Abertay?

There's so many highlights and moments from my time at Abertay, most of them involving the group of great friends I made while there! We're really close and still see each other a lot even though university is over.

For more information about degrees like Kimberley's, please see the Dundee Business School courses page.

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