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Tom Jenkins

Tom shares the turnaround in events which leads him to study at Imperial.

It's 10 years since I left school and I’m finally going to university.

After finishing school with good grades including two As at GCSE for science, it was quite predicable what would come next; A-levels, Undergraduate Degree, perhaps a higher degree and then a job.

Not for me, I had to do it the hard way!

I was turned off by the whole experience of school and couldn’t wait to leave. I was tempted by the many interesting courses my local college had to offer and thought I’d be treated like a ‘grown up’.

So, I enrolled on a landscape garden design course which I didn’t like and switched onto a horticulture course, which I found I didn’t like either. Then I decided that I should go off to Birmingham to live with my brother, experience life, be involved in the music scene (I play the piano) and ponder what I wanted to when I grew up. It seems that I’d completely lost sight of what I wanted to do.

There started my long career in less than satisfactory jobs, where I became taken in by earning money. After becoming discontented with living in Birmingham I moved to Cardiff, where I proceeded to accept another boring but slightly better paid job. Dissatisfaction again crept in and I moved on again. After getting into a rather large amount of debt, I decided enough was enough.

After having 7 years of ‘life experience’ and at the age of 23 I moved back home to live with my parents and regroup. It was obvious from the string of 20 jobs I’d had that something wasn’t quite right and that something had to be done.

After two years living with my parents, working to pay off my frivolous debts and pondering, something finally clicked into place! I remembered that I had two As at GCSE science and so my interest in science slowly rekindled. I decided to test this supposed epiphany with an Open University Starter course. I enrolled and then successfully completed the course, which gave me the confidence to enrol on an ACCESS course in my local college (the same college as mentioned before). The course is an ACCESS to HE science course that is equivalent to three A-levels and is a one year course.

I’m now coming to the end of the course and have found it a really enjoyable and exciting time. It’s been amazing to rediscover curiosity and passion for an interest that has lain dormant for so many years and it’s been brilliant to learn new fascinating things.

In the last month I was offered a place to study Biology at Imperial College London. I was delighted. Of course I thought I must have read the offer email wrong and checked the text many times to be sure I didn’t have the wrong end of the stick! I have accepted the offer and pending results will be starting a new life in London in September.

I just wanted to share this turnaround in events and to give you an insight to how I got here.

Yes, its 10 years since I left school and I’m finally going to university. Perhaps if I had followed the normal path it wouldn’t have ever led me here.

  © 2007 Imperial College London

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