Karen’s delight as she earns first class degree

Karen Phillipson, of Cornholme, who has been awarded a first class degree from UCLAN
Karen Phillipson, of Cornholme, who has been awarded a first class degree from UCLAN

A woman who juggled her job and her studies for three years of her four-year course has become one of only seven students in her year to get a first class degree in her subject.

The hard work has all paid off for Karen Phillipson, who has been awarded her first class BA degree with honours in education and professional studies by the University of Central Lancashire.

For the first three years of her four-year course at the university’s Burnley campus, Karen was working full-time as well as studying, as a medical receptionist at Burnley General Hospital.

Karen, who is 40 and lives at Portsmouth, Cornholme with her husband Mark, said: “In the first three years I took a day of my annual leave most weeks, about a day each week of term up to the end of March. I am pleased with the results of my study - I wanted to beat my brother who got a 2:1 degree when he took his! The staff at the college were very supportive, realising people sometimes aren’t a typical student.

“I received my degree in July at Preston Guildhall.”

Having been awarded her degree she could qualify as a teacher by completing an additional year’s training for that, but Karen says she is open minded about what to do next, adding: “There are other options such as graduate training programmes for industry or companies. It can open doors.”

Studying while working, she said, was “something you get used to. It was quite tough at first I suppose, but you do get back into it and after a while you are able to manage it alongside everything else. The last couple of months were very intense with deadlines week after week.

“It’s discipline, determination and dedication, with support and understanding from my family and parents.”

Now looking at graduate jobs which will become available in September, it is a path she would recommend to others thinking about studying while working full-time.

“If you take tutors’ advice and work hard, you will achieve,” she said.