Student wins grant and starts new chapter in her life
15 November 2021
A divorced single mother whose education and work life have never been able to match her creative ambition is finally on course to fulfil her dreams at the age of 55.
Lauren Grant, 55, has been awarded a Dean's Scholarship for three years, meaning that she is able pursue a BA in Film, turning her hobby and passion into a launchpad towards a potential new career.
Lauren, lives in Hammersmith and Fulham and works part-time as a Human Rights Assessor for unaccompanied minors and she worried money and time pressures would hamper her studies.
But the scholarship - which is awarded for academic excellence and adherence to the University's values as well as economic need - has alleviated those concerns.
I am a very mature student who after successfully raising a son - who is now 28 and a qualified forensic sound engineer - and after working for nearly 30 years in Children's Services myself, had never thought it possible that I would ever get the chance to follow my own career aspirations.
"I have spent much of my working life helping young people to attain their own life dreams, which has been very rewarding, however there was always a small part of me that knew how much I wanted to follow a different path."
She explained that she grew up in tough circumstances where education was not the focus.
"I grew up as a first-generation child of Jamaican immigrants and a widowed mother, who with five children was not inclined to encourage one of those children, whose main talent and dream was to be a writer.
"As wonderful as my mother was and she really was wonderful, her main goal for her family was for them to survive, which meant getting a job at 16 and sticking at it. This saw me entering hairdressing and contracting an allergy to the chemicals, which meant I had to stop. And then moving into Children's Services as an unqualified worker. and never being able to rise above front-line management."
She said that she had always written fiction, plays and full screenplays for others and for her own plays. She managed to sell a few scripts but felt she was never fully compensated or recognised for her work.
The need to keep a full-time job meant she never felt able or confident enough to focus solely on a career in writing or film.
Now that has changed. She said,
"I chose UEL, largely due to the New Beginnings course, which is an access course that allows people like me who do not have the formal qualifications, entry to university. I also did some research around the film course and had come across positive reviews, which helped me with my decision. "
Looking forward, she said,
"I am excited to work with professional writers, filmmakers and tutors who I hope will be instrumental in assisting me to hone my craft. I welcome the feedback that is provided as they have the knowledge and experience that I would like to benefit from."
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