Going back to University as a mature aged student – Ep 135 with Tamara Agnew

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In 2005, Tamara Agnew was working as an executive assistant in a law firm in Edinburgh. It was a good job, but she knew that there was more waiting for her. She had a young daughter and a strong yearning to be a great role model, to show her daughter it was possible to choose and change to create your path the life that you want. And so Tamara went back to university as a mature age student and discovered the benefits of having lived before she chose to study. In this conversation, Tamara and I discuss her experiences and her choices for future study beyond her undergraduate degree, and the paths and opportunities this has opened up for her. We hope you enjoy this conversation.

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Show Notes


  • I was carrying a hangover from school, of feeling not good enough
  • My husband became my “Belief Buddy”, he encouraged me to just do it and balanced me with the knowledge that if I didn’t like it, if it wasn’t working out, I could always choose to leave, so I enrolled
  • I realised all of the skills I had created over the years helped, that nothing we learn or experience is ever wasted
  • The life confidence I had allowed me to hold court in tutorials and be a catalyst for others
  • My thinking has been opened up – going back to University has been enlightening, I’ve learned so much about myself
  • I started a Podcast - Podcast – careersessions.com – designed to help others find their place
  • My next chapter is Aluialtum Consultants - a joint venture with my PhD Supervisor

About the speaker

When Tamara Agnew finished school, she had no idea what she wanted to do. Riddled with angst and self-doubt, but full of energy and wanting to live my life to the full. Tamara did not want to go to university, did not want to enter into any more learning contracts. So she lived and worked in Sydney where she met her future husband, and they moved to Scotland. Tamara was working as an executive assistant in a law firm in Edinburgh, but was so unhappy. When her first daughter was born, she wanted a change, and this was driven by a strong yearning to be a strong female role model to her. Tamara knew she didn’t want to be in the same place 5 years later, unhappy, bored with her job. So, she decided, at the age of 34, to go to university. Little did she know that this was the start of a long, and extremely rewarding academic journey! She now knows – it is never too late to make a big change in your life.

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