Jo Buckett is no stranger to difficult challenges, but she says that when she graduated at Worcester Cathedral, it will wrapped up what was the toughest challenge of her life.
Jo fought and beat breast cancer in 2007, and since then has completed a number of incredible physical challenges to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support; including treks in China, Peru and India, amongst others.
Three years ago, she enrolled on the University of Worcester’s Professional Practice (Children’s Services) degree, returning to the classroom for the first time in three decades.
The 51 year-old, from Frome in Somerset, graduated with a First Class Honours degree, and she says despite the scale of the challenge of going back to education, it was definitely worthwhile.
“When I started the course, I would have been happy just with a Pass, and as I had not been in education for a long time, I didn’t even know if I would be able to complete the first year,” admits Jo, who works for Somerset Children’s Social Care and was based at one of the University’s partner institutions, Taunton Academy, during her studies.
“The degree was my latest challenge; it has been the hardest and the toughest, but it has been so worthwhile.
“Working, as I do, with professional people, as well as children from disadvantaged backgrounds, at times left me feeling inadequate. The degree has developed my knowledge of my working environment, therefore enabling to me to deliver a better service.
“It has also improved my confidence enormously, so to learn I had gained a First Class degree - after achieving only a D+ for my first assignment - had me dancing and shouting with joy around the house, with my son thinking I had gone mad!
“I now believe I am as good as anyone else and look forward to putting my degree to good use.”