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‘It’s never too late to follow your dreams’: Mum-of-three celebrates success after juggling college studies with motherhood

Kelly Denholm graduated with an HND in accounting on Tuesday.

A mum-of-three has proven that it’s “never too late to follow your dreams” after completing a long-desired degree in accounting.

Graduating at North East Scotland College (Nescol) was a milestone event for Kelly Denholm after she decided to leave her life in Arbroath and start fresh with her family in Aberdeen.

After years of working in admin, the 34-year-old, who has always an affinity with numbers than with words, was adamant that accounting was the route she wanted to pursue next.

However, being a mature student and embarking on a new adventure in the midst of a pandemic was bound to have its challenges.

Mrs Denholm said that managing her course while taking care of her three children – Joy, 17, Taye-Rhys, 15, and 10-year-old Alexi – was one of the main struggles during her studies.

She said: “When I was offered a place on the course we decided to move to Aberdeen to start a new life and take on my new opportunity.

“It’s been a real juggling act. I really had to prioritise my time and squeeze in studying where I could, but also make sure I wasn’t neglecting my duties as a mum.

“Being a mature student is challenging anyway, but doing it alongside parenting responsibilities and overseeing your children’s social calendar presents even more challenges.

“I loved the course and for the first time in my life felt properly challenged.”

‘Don’t get give up on your dream, no matter what age’

Now a proud holder of an HND in accounting, Mrs Denholm will continue her journey to securing a job in the sector as a third-year student at the Robert Gordon University.

Reflecting on the last two years in college, she said she could never have made it without the support of her friends and the constant guidance from her favourite lecturer Leanne Cruikshank.

Mrs Denholm said: “There are many lecturers who had a huge impact on my learning experience along the way, but one in particular, Leanne Cruikshank, will always be held in high esteem by me.

“I struggle a lot with my self-worth and believing in my own ability, and she was always there to give me that little boost to remind me that I am worthy, that I can do it and that I can’t let my own demons beat me.

“My biggest challenge was myself. It was believing in myself and that I can do it.”

She added: “The one thing I can tell other mature students is that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

“Sometimes life can catch us up and sometimes things can get in our way, but don’t ever give up on your dream, no matter what age.”

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