Academic excellence for mum who juggled studies with raising a young family

22 July 2018

Alysha Sammut
Alysha Sammut

Alysha Sammut and her family have much to celebrate.

After returning to education following a ten-year break, the 33-year-old is now walking away with a first-class degree in Social Sciences from Cardiff University.

The mum-of-two said it was a dream come true. “I couldn’t have done it without my family’s support,” she said. “My son went bounding in to tell his friends and his teachers when he found out I’d passed."

Alysha left school at 17 and went straight into employment as a civil servant. She said: “I was just keen to start earning money and I enjoyed my job. But there was always a feeling that I hadn’t really reached my full potential.”

After accepting redundancy, she took time out of the workplace to raise her family – Joseph is now eight and Tallulah is six. 
“In that time, I tried to start college three times but for various reasons, it never worked out. I just felt like, ‘it’s never going to happen, my ship has sailed’,” she said.

Alysha who lives with husband Matthew and their children in Gabalfa, Cardiff, then began working part-time as a receptionist. But a chance visit to the local library for “rhyme time” with her children sent her on a different path.

“I saw this booklet about part-time courses for adults. I flicked through it and it said you don’t need any qualifications to enrol. I was really excited. I came straight home and phoned them. They said they were having an open day that day so I went down to meet the tutors. It was fate.”

By successfully completing the pathway to a degree at the university’s Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) department, she received an unconditional offer to study at the School of Social Sciences.

“I handed in my notice and began studying full-time,” she said.

She admitted her first day of lectures had been a daunting one. “I was really nervous and worried I would feel too old to be there. But it couldn’t have been further from the truth. There was a real mix of people studying.

“I quickly settled into it and really enjoyed the work. It was inspiring going to lectures and the tutors were so supportive, especially of the fact I was juggling my course with raising two children.”

Of the graduation ceremony, Alysha said: “It was quite an emotional moment. I have made friends from all walks of life and I know we’ll stay in touch. I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”

To find out more about pathways to a degree, go to: https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/part-time-courses-for-adults/pathways-to-a-degree