Janice Savizon, who is originally from London but lives in Ellon, has seen her efforts of returning to university rewarded as she accomplished an MSc Analytical Sciences with a focus on Drug Analysis and Toxicology at The Scottish University of the Year 2021.
The 60-year-old chose to pursue a postgraduate degree to enhance her skills with a view to securing a role in her field of study and in the area she and her family had settled in.
“Almost upon qualifying with a BSc in Forensic Biology, my husband and I decided to move to Aberdeenshire. After that, I became busy raising my family, working in a local supermarket, and volunteering for the council teaching literacy and numeracy to adults and English for Speakers of Other Languages.
“With the children now grown and pursuing their own careers, I thought it was the opportunity to go back into education to further my studies and increase my chances of employment.”
Having the possibility to study the course on a part-time basis over two years made it possible for Janice to pursue the MSc Analytical Sciences. But her time at university has not been without challenges, having had to overcome self-doubt and adapt to online learning with the onset of the pandemic.
“Balancing study time with home and work commitments, plus attending a full programme was challenging. I was also worried my age would be a barrier, and as it was over a decade since I had qualified with my undergraduate degree, my confidence had dipped.
“To add to this, the pandemic became a feature between the two years of study which threaten to upset plans in place. Laboratory sessions were restricted, and face-to-face lectures were made virtual. I even run into issues with my laptop, but RGU Access loaned me one, which enabled me to complete the course.”
The graduate credits RGU’s additional support throughout her journey in helping her accomplish her goal, adding: “Due to personal issues, my second year was particularly difficult. When I felt to give up, a talk with my supervisor encouraged me to see the course through. I am grateful for this intervention and support that enable me to complete my learning.”
Janice now plans to gain experience on her chosen career path, working in an analytical laboratory performing tests or as a technical assistant. As a graduate, she was able to reflect on her time at RGU and the decision to head back into higher education.
“I really enjoyed my time at RGU. It helped me fill the gaps in my learning and was a great way to achieve my next steps. By completing this postgraduate degree, I now feel more assured to enter the workplace in my field of choice. I always thought my undergraduate course was the end of my learning. However, going through this course, I now realised I had more to learn and the ability to do so.”