Hello! My name is Rachel and I am a Higher Education Ambassador here at Cardiff and Vale College.
I work at a performing arts academy on a Saturday and it is the best job in the world. The problem was, as much as I love singing and acting, I never had the confidence to do it in front of an audience. Working with the children at the academy really inspired me. These amazing young people are getting up in front of audiences and giving it their all. They don’t care what people think, they’re just doing what they love and seeing them achieve their dreams is so rewarding. So finally, at 34 years of age, I decided it was time for me to stop listening to the voice in my head telling me I can’t do things and just go for it.
I applied to Cardiff and Vale College and I was accepted onto the Performing Arts Foundation Degree course. Initially I was worried. I’m a Mum of two amazing kids and I have the most supportive partner you could ever wish for. Would I be able to go back to college? Could we afford it? Would it fit around my family life? Would it be too much work? Would I be able to get over my anxiety? Very quickly I found out that the answer was YES!
Student Finance Wales were amazing in sorting out my student loan. The timetable was perfect for when my kids were in school. The workload is entirely manageable, and the assignments were interesting and enjoyable. I still get to work on a Saturday and I finally got over my nerves!
I was very nervous about meeting my class for the first time. I expected to be the oldest, which I am, but I have been so lucky to have such an amazing group. Having smaller class sizes than you would have in University makes it so much easier to form strong friendships and really get to know each other. Another advantage is the amount of contact time you have with your tutors. They are always there to ask for help and are incredibly supportive. The college offers an incredible support network through their learning support centre, careers guidance and counselling service.
Since starting my course in September I have:
- Been part of four performances in the College
- Written and performed my own work
- Acted in the Halloween at Castell Coch Experience
- Written a play that is being performed at an evening for emerging playwrights
- Been in several student films
The opportunities offered by the College are fantastic. They gave us the chance to work with CADW and take part in Halloween at Castell Coch which was my first ever acting experience and I absolutely loved it. They get us tickets to a lot of performances in Cardiff which are fantastic to watch.We are going on a trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon in June to see a play. Most recently we have been given the opportunity to work with the BBC in the ‘It’s My Shout’ project which gives people the opportunity to work as cast and crew on short films made by the BBC which are then televised. I will be working as part of a cast and crew as a script supervisor which I am really excited about!
My next project is taking part in the Creative Department’s end of year show. It is my first time singing in front of an audience which is equally exciting and terrifying! This will be a showcase of the work from across the creative department which is very exciting! Hopefully I’ll have some videos for you in my next post.
When I think back to this time last year when I was just going for my interview I never would have imagined I could have achieved so much. My goal as Higher Education Ambassador is to show people that they can do this. You can have a family and a life and a job and still go back into education and do well. You can overcome nerves and self-doubt. You can do anything you put your mind to even if you’re worried you’ve left it too late. It’s never too late. Hopefully, this blog will give you an insight into what it’s like to be a real higher education student at CAVC. If you see me around and have any questions don’t be afraid to ask!