Gran, 52, moves into university halls so she can ’embrace student life’
A 52-year-old grandmother has decided to experience student life to the full by moving into university halls while she studies.
Marisa O’Hara packed up her bags and moved out of her family home to study a PGCE in Secondary History at Aberystwyth University.
And the mum-of-five is sharing digs at their Cwrt Mawr accommodation with hundreds of young students.
Marisa, whose own kids Liane, 30, Katrina, 27, Sioned, 25, Kezia, 21 and Callum, 20, have moved out the family home, says she is ready to “embrace” student life.
Marisa, from Tywyn, west Wales, said: “I thought, ‘just because I’m 52 doesn’t mean I can’t move into student accommodation’ so I just took the leap and did it.
“I moved in on Saturday and it’s going great – we’ve already played Cards Against Humanity and we love sitting in the living room for a catch up.
“I waited until the kids were old enough for me to do this on my own – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but I wanted to wait for the right moment and it just seemed to fall in place.
“I am loving it and would push anyone who is thinking of doing it to just do it – you’re never too old to follow your dreams.”
The grandmother-of-four completed her undergraduate degree in History at Worcester University back in 2005 and has since worked in cafes and shops.
While the student digs caters largely for undergraduate students, Marisa shares her particular block with three other mature students aged 39, 28, and 24.
Marisa added: “I was initially planning on commuting as my house is only an hour away from the university but during my interview, they told me that they prefer students to live in accommodation so they can join in with socials and get to know each other.
“I was really nervous about who I might be in shared accommodation with but the university made sure to put mature students together and they reassured me throughout the process.
“My children are really supportive – they are so proud and I still speak to them everyday.”
Marisa’s daughter Katrina posted a picture of her mum in her student halls on Twitter which went viral; with more than 52,000 likes.
Katrina, who works as a secondary school teacher, said: “I’m really proud that mum took the step in going to university, and then the further step of moving into halls.
“Mum has talked about wanting to be a history teacher ever since I was around eight years old.
“She really showed her girls that being a mum does not stop you from achieving your goals or going to university
“Life got tough for a few years and she wasn’t able to take on that next step of her PGCE. I’m so happy that she has been brave enough to go for it now, as a grandma to four.
“I love that she’s inspiring other women to do the same thing.
“When she first moving into halls, I didn’t think she would actually do it – most mature students travel in or find private accommodation, but I’m so pleased she made this decision.
“When we become mums, the focus of our lives shifts from us to our children, and we can forget about our own goals and living our own lives. I think it’s amazing that she’s decided to take that time to do what she wants, achieve her goals and have fun.
“She can think again though if she thinks she’s bringing bags of dirty washing over at Christmas for me to sort”.
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