Our students: Annie Mason

Annie Mason had always wanted to be an artist and as soon as she had finished her A-Levels, she went off to do art foundation course. However, things did not go as planned.

“It was so strange,” she said. “I realised very quickly that the fine art world was not for me, which was hard as that had been my dream for so long.”

Annie decided to take a break from education and took up cocktail waitressing for the next ten years. However, when she reached her late 20s, she realised that she wanted to expand her horizons and do something different. 

“I didn’t want to go into hospitality management but I didn’t know what else to do,” she said.

It was Annie’s Dad, Dr Tom Mason, recently retired from the Department of English, who told her about the Foundation in Arts and Humanities at the University of Bristol.

“I wasn’t keen at first,” Annie remembered. “But then I read about the programme and the sheer variety of subjects offered appealed to me, as did the lack of exams and the promise of a degree place at the University afterwards, if I was successful,” she grinned. Another attraction for Annie was that she could carry on working during the Foundation as the teaching time was concentrated on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

“The best, and most surprising thing about the course was the lectures that hadn’t initially appealed to me turning out to be really interesting. The variety of subjects on offer, the teaching style and the very different viewpoints of my fellow students made me look at things from varying perspectives. I think about issues much more critically now,” Annie explained.

“At the beginning I was unsure about academia,” she continued. “And I was very nervous about my interview with Dr Richard Pettigrew. But when I saw that all he had on his feet was a pair of purple stripy socks, I knew that he was someone I could communicate with!”

Annie’s family background is obviously an academic one; “Oh yes, the whole of my family is very academic, so there was some disappointment when I decided not to follow that route. But my parents are pleased that I’ve come back to it in my own time, that I am doing well and enjoying it,” says Annie.

“I would definitely recommend the Foundation,” she concludes. “There is lots of support available if you’ve been out of education for a while. I’m so pleased to be back. The Foundation has been fantastic. I’ve loved all of it….even the bits I haven’t loved! ”

“I’m hoping to go on to study archaeology. In the future I’d like to be an academic, surrounded by flint tool-filled drawers,” she added.

And perhaps that dream may come true; Annie completed the Foundation successfully in 2014 and is now studying a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol. 

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