ITK asks Cheryl Arnott to describe her studies.
I previously worked in finance, but when I was made redundant, I felt it was right not to look immediately for another job. Later that year somebody asked me if I had ever considered studying and within 2 weeks, I’d enrolled with the Open University, originally on a degree known as Criminology and Social Worlds. However this didn’t suit me, and I am now doing an Open degree. I’m two-thirds of the way through the course, in my final year (which I’m spreading over 2 years).
An open degree means I can pick modules that don’t have exams at the end of them and I can choose any modules that the open university offers, eg history, classical studies, philosophy. I have tended to opt for social sciences, which is a combination of political studies, sociology, geography, and criminology. One of the modules I have previously studied was how social sciences affects everyday life. For example, how minority issues (such as plastics, or veganism) become high profile which in turn will then affect laws and consumer choices. (This is my favourite module to date).
However, I have also completed a law module and one that looked into children and young people’s wellbeing. I am currently studying a module on how social worlds are made, and from a Christian perspective this is a difficult one as a majority of it goes against what I believe.
I have learnt a lot about myself whilst doing this course. For example, that I can do things I thought I couldn’t, like writing an essay and referencing it, and also that I am not a quitter. I’ve grown into it, and have loved learning new things.
There have also been challenges. It can be a lonely journey because you don’t meet other students and have to motivate yourself. Some of the modules have also challenged me to face difficult issues in my own past and upbringing.
I’m not sure how I’m going to use my studies once I have graduated, but I feel sure God has a purpose with my degree and I would also love to be able to use it at the Riverside in some capacity.
Cheryl, and her husband Tim, are Gateway's Adult Safeguarding Officers. This is a new role to our safeguarding team, and they are now starting to work with the elders, pastoral team, and team leads in providing support to those working with adults who are at risk of harm.