John Moran Educational - Trust Making financial awards to support the entry into higher education
 
Student Profiles

The Trust has made awards to over forty two deserving students from the Merseyside region since it was set up in 2003. Here’s more about what these students did with their awards, and what it meant to them:

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Profile twenty eight

When you first begin year thirteen it is frightening, to say the least! Suddenly you’ve gone from celebrating your AS results to being told all these little helpful tips and tricks on how to survive at university, and how to best manage your finances. Our week of introduction to university life and what it entailed gave me so much anxiety that I almost closed my ears. Finance was going to be big issue.  You can guess, then, how full of relief I was when on the fourth day someone mentioned the John Moran Trust. As the guy at the front of the class relayed to us information about it at least thirty pens were scribbling the details down onto anything they could find, paper, notebooks, themselves. Nevertheless, many forgot about it in the months to follow due to the sheer amount of data we received - not me though! This was too good of an opportunity to miss, I had to go for it.

Coming from a single parent family is difficult, my Mum works three jobs to make ends meet but it doesn’t always stretch very far, especially not with what I was going to need during the upcoming months: novels to study English Literature, Language, text books for Sociology, a new laptop, accommodation. My dad’s always sort of been out of the picture. He and my Mum parted when I was a child and I’ve received little to no financial help from him since then. Instead, we came to live in our ‘family home’ consisting of six people and me.

Things, as you can imagine, are very loud in my house. Revising was more of a challenge than an activity with all the noises going on around me! I also shared a room with my Mum and cousin which wasn’t ideal when I had coursework deadlines and my cousin and I would argue over who got the bedroom that day! Luckily, it didn’t affect my grades. I still achieved what I wanted but I knew this was the last year I could do it in a crowded environment, which could only mean one thing- I had to move out!

So last year myself and a friend who is also studying at the University decided to move in to student accommodation together to save on costs and gain independence, but also to stay near our families.

The John Moran Trust has helped me realise this way of life. If it wasn’t for their generosity I wouldn’t have been able to make the all important move to my own accommodation where I will have space and privacy.  I feel sure that this environment will help me to succeed. They’ve lifted the consistent stress of worrying about how to pay for materials that I’ll need to excel on my chosen course. I now feel as if a weight has been taken from upon my shoulders, and everything at university just seems to be more achievable now. The charity is an excellent foundation and I couldn’t wish to thank them more. 

First year is ‘easy’ – or so they told me! A time to have fun with your new friends, settle into university and just learn the basics and how everything works. I always knew I was going to take it seriously though, I just didn’t know how seriously and I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming change and pressure that I felt and that I put myself through. Throughout the year I became withdrawn, anxious, stressed and just generally unhappy. Although I was doing well, more than well, I couldn’t see it – I just wasn’t where I wanted to be, didn’t think I was doing well enough and nothing I did ever met the standards I set myself. This came to a climax at the end of the year, the problem had become out of my control and I was really worried that it had put such a strain on my revision I wouldn’t even pass – how wrong was I?! I ended up doing really well with a 1st and a 2:1 (I am a combined honours student). I decided that after the exams I would see someone about my anxiety issues and I’m now learning how to put things into perspective and take a more relaxed approach to life.

The concerns about my academic progress were exacerbated by a problem with my accommodation. The place I thought I had cleverly chosen to suit my needs as it was close to university and was in, what I thought at the time, really good condition, turned out to be quite run down to the point of it being difficult to live in at times. One of the most memorable disasters was when our microwave blew taking all the sockets with it and leaving us with them in that condition until the morning as all the staff at reception left after 6pm. Also, we came to realise quite early on that two people living in such a small space should really only happen out of necessity as it was extremely difficult for us both to work together in that confined space. This left me in a bit of a pickle, I couldn’t move back home because I equally would get as little work done there as I would in the current bed-sit but it was also too late in the year to find any student accommodation (besides, I don’t think I could have handled the stress of looking with how I was feeling during the year anyway). We then discovered that my aunty, whose husband had unfortunately passed a little while back, was looking for lodgers. We agreed that we would pay her the same amount of rent as we were currently paying and in return we have got far more space. The situation, albeit probably causing more disruption than we needed, is working well so far and I’m a lot happier with how things have worked out!

But where does John Moran come into all of this? First off, they provided me with some of the rent money I needed to take that crucial step of moving out (which if I hadn’t have done would have seriously affected my ability to work efficiently throughout the year) and they provided me with the money to purchase a laptop, which of course is crucial to any university course and without which I would have had to use the library computers which isn’t convenient or sometimes possible around coursework deadline day! I also had some money left over from them which I saved for a rainy day. This came in useful for funding the purchase of all my revision books as I found that either the books I needed weren’t available in the library or others had got there before me! Without the trust, my revision would have probably been a few desperate websites from the internet, and not a lot else! Therefore, I want to again thank them from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to be able make the choices I need to provide myself with the best path in life I can take and giving me the opportunity to purchase the materials that are so crucial to my university experience.

In January of this year university became a bit too stressful for me so I suspended studies until September of this year. During the few months I spent away from education I gathered work experience for future possible jobs and underwent counselling in order to prepare myself for the coming academic year. Furthermore, deciding that I wanted to be a sociology teacher and enjoying this subject more than English, I decided to transfer to single honours Sociology. I am back at university now and am handling things a lot better. It is challenging but rewarding and I hope I am successful in the coming year.

During what was supposed to be my second year at university I suspended studies due to some problems with stress and anxiety that I experienced.  Within this time frame, and whilst awaiting my return to university, I undertook many projects and activities.  I worked at my university in various widening participation schemes, obtained a job in retail, volunteered in a school and took a course in awareness of domestic abuse. 

Additionally, I had various sessions of counselling in order to rectify the overwhelming feeling that my high expectations of myself at university had given me.  These sessions were very successful and I have now made a full recovery.  I think that having half a year 'out' gave me real perspective and allowed me to gain control over what was becoming a large worry and a strain on my health. Through taking a short step back I was able to regain a sense that university isn't forever and that the periods of intense workloads and pressure soon end.  I was also able to see how my constant work ethic, without any breaks, was exhausting, unnecessary and unproductive.  The message I hope to convey by telling about this part of my life is that taking a step away from a problem allows you to perceive it more objectively, as an outsider would and thus provides some clarity and perspective.  It's also important to understand that although you might have a strict plan that you set for yourself in life, the world doesn't end if you change it or if it goes wrong.  Mistakes and admitting you aren't coping don't mean failure. 

I am back at university now and although things are becoming increasingly intense as my third year progresses, I am handling it well.

As ever, I am eternally grateful for the Trust Fund's donations and support to me over the years. 

My third year at university began on a bit of a bad note. In addition to the obvious step-up in the difficulty of the assessments, my Mum was very poorly throughout, meaning I missed a great portion of lectures and seminars. Regardless, I made it through the year still having done well (a first in my degree overall) and my Mum’s health is manageable now. I also made the decision this year to apply for funding to the North West Doctoral Training Centre as a 1+3 student. This means that I would obtain a funding studentship which would cover my tuition fees for conducting an MA and then subsequent PhD at my university, as well as providing me with a maintenance grant. Fortunately, and with much, much support from my fantastic tutors, I was awarded the studentship! I couldn’t be more pleased and am looking forward to developing my methodological skills during my extended time in education.

John Moran definitely played a part in my obtaining this funding. Often, the books I needed to further my thinking for my funding proposal were not available in the library (as the topic I will be researching is a relatively ‘new’ one) and so I had to purchase many using my own money (or rather, the money donated to me by the John Moran trust!). Without such invaluable resources, the proposal would not have been what it was, so I can’t thank the trust enough in that respect. Furthermore, the trust’s money has helped me attend various conferences and public lectures in different parts of Britain that have both aided my third year studies and have further prepared me for study at post-graduate level. Finally, the trust’s money has – as usual – helped me with living costs, allowing me to reside in an environment where I would be able to focus and study without interruptions.

I cannot thank the trust enough for their help over the past few years and I would really encourage anyone who thinks finances may be a barrier to university to apply.