A mother of three young children who is also a full-time carer for her own parents will be graduating in this year’s summer award ceremonies (3-5 July)
Single mother Victoria Otten, from Bristol, will graduate with a BA (Honours) Coach Education & Sport Development degree at Bath Abbey on Thursday 5 July.
The degree has taken Victoria, 27, five years to complete having had to overcome a number of challenges to ensure she receives the degree she has worked so hard for.
As well as being a mum, Victoria has had to care for her parents, with her dad fighting a long term illness and her mum having badly hurt herself in an accident.
Victoria put her studies on hold for a year at the birth of her third child, Jemima, but then faced another twelve month break after seriously breaking her ankle and needing to undergo numerous operations.
Victoria said: “The reason I have completed this course is not just down to me. It is down to having a huge support system around me, and that comes from my friends, my children who have been brilliant, but also the university staff.
“The members of staff have just been so helpful, flexible and really supportive in all of the things I have had to deal with which has made a whole world of difference. I can’t thank them enough.”
For most parents, once the children have been put to bed, it is time to relax. However, for Victoria, her evening has just begun: “For me the evening is the busiest part of the day as it usually involves bringing the kids home from school and getting them to do their homework, cook us all some dinner and then at about nine or ten o’clock I can resume my studies.
“On average I usually finish studying at about one o’clock and then I’m up at six in the morning to get the kids ready for the next day of school.”
Commenting on how it feels to be graduating, Victoria said: “I am really proud of myself and everyone around me who has had to be so patient. I am relieved it is all over but also a little bit nervous and excited about the opportunities I now have ahead of me.
“I am hoping to maybe do a PGCE or continue into further education. I would quite like to start up my own business coaching and outdoor pursuits.”
Dr Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson, Director of Studies for Victoria’s Coach Education & Sports Development degree and also her final-year dissertation tutor, said that working with Victoria had always been a pleasure: “Vicki has shown unswerving commitment and determination to complete her degree with us, despite many and varied obstacles. Her final year dissertation is outstanding, and a reflection of her hard work, perceptive insight and also sophistication of thought. We are all delighted to see her graduate this year!”