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Ellie Wolf – MSc Applied Psychology

Gethellen Wolf
Triumphantly emerging from full-time work, part-time distance learning, and what was thought to be terminal illness, Ellie Wolf graduated from The Scottish University of the Year 2021 with merit on Friday 16 July.

Ellie (55), from the beautiful highlands capital of Inverness, crossed Robert Gordon University’s (RGU’s) virtual gradation stage to accept her Master of Science in Applied Psychology with merit in front of a global audience of friends, family, alumni, and supporters.

“I feel so proud,” says Ellie. “Amazed—joyful in my achievement! It’s restored my zeal and confidence. I almost gave up several times, as my work throughout the pandemic has been very front line and challenging with responses needed 24/7, all while trying to focus on essays or statistics assignments or research. But, I never missed a deadline.”

Ellie proved her resilience after a cancer diagnosis rattled her dreams of further studies beyond her Bachelor’s degree. She survived, and the job of recovering her life and responsibilities took hold.

“I had lost confidence and couldn't see a way of moving onto a master’s degree while also working full time. A friend had studied social work at RGU part-time and I had supported her as an employer. When I reached 50, I decided it was time to do 50 things in my 50th year—and one of those things was seriously planning my return to academic study. I was well, and better for the journey.

“Once I could self-finance, I applied to RGU at 52.”

Studying alongside full-time work is a challenge for any student—more so under the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic and working on the front lines.

“I studied evenings, late into the night, early mornings, and weekends to stay on top of the work. My dogs would peer over my shoulder, the cat was often determined to jump on the laptop, and my partner received responses to any conversation with a grunt, emphasising that an essay or research was in progress.

“The teaching, support, lecture materials, and links have all been of high quality, and my personal tutor was amazing and so supportive. I was able to access everything online, including the library—very different to when I studied for my bachelor’s degree more than 30 years ago.”

Ellie has worked in the health and social care sector for more than 35 years and is currently an Area Manager for Key, a third-sector provider of social care. She is looking forward to a 12-month break before finding her next adventure.

“I love Psychology, but it is the application of knowledge that interests me,” adds Ellie. “I hope to continue my studies and move onto a PhD in social research.”

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