It wasn’t exactly the expected life plan for me to attend university: especially not amongst the red bricks at the University of Bristol.
And if you had of asked my college tutors if it was likely I'd pursue a Masters in preparation for a PhD, they would have all soundly agreed it wasn’t even a possibility, let alone a likelihood.
A part-time return to college at the age of 22 to gain some work qualifications was more of a temporary divergence than a permanent change of direction. Nonetheless, one thing led to another and here I am some years later, three months into an MSc in Anthropology of Education and Globalisation at Aarhus University in Copenhagen.
Five cold dark winters working outside from the age of 17, exhausting your body every day, is enough to encourage anyone back into the sanctuary of the classroom. Perhaps an easier prospect for someone who’s early school reports consistently read ‘can do better’ and ‘has a lot of potential'.
I was lucky at college. A group of tutors saw something in me that I had long lost sight of in myself. They encouraged my application to university. Whilst they didn’t discourage my application to UoB, they supported it to the local University of Bedfordshire, with more humble aspirations in mind.
To be honest, at this point I had little knowledge of university rankings or what a Russell group was. The longer I spent at Bristol, the more I realised how lucky I was to be there.
Despite being older than most coming straight from A levels and gap years, but too young to relate to discussions on how to manage university with two kids over cheese and wine, I eventually found my place.
Some days I felt old amongst teenagers, some days I felt young amongst those same people. The majority of challenges I faced were fabricated in my own mind. It wasn’t long until I stopped feeling like an ‘other’ due to my age. Bristol was amazing, I fell completely in love and it absolutely won my heart.
For someone that’s always been told they ‘should do better’ and it's ‘not quite good enough;’ it's somewhat self-fulfilling to achieve academically. My Masters is helping me continue just that.
Photography: Turan Bhakta
Luke writes about moving to Copenhagen for his Masters, renting a room, securing a CPR number and finding his feet. Post coming to GLC soon!