by MARY MAGEE
A LISBURN woman who got the studying bug while working for the Open University degree is now so keen she can't wait to start her Masters.
26-year old Angie McKeown from Mornington graduated in criminology and justice at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast at the weekend.
Angie, was one of 170 students who reaped the rewards of part-time study with the Open University.
Angie, completed her degree in just over five years while juggling a full time job first with a bank and then as a PA.
She started the degree at Jordanstown in 2004 but with work commitments was unable to continue and so switched to complete the degree with Open University transferring the 120 points she had already gained at the UU.
Angie, now a project worker working with young offenders, believes the OU has greatly helped her career.
"I would recommend it to anyone," she said. "OU was very tough. It is all self taught and it was a massive change from university. You are very isolated a lot of the time but you need to stay focussed and disciplined. There are only a few seminars during the year but if you can work well on your own and discipline yourself then it will be for you.
"The support you get is excellent with tutors and I now hope to do a Masters degree.
Your social life does suffer and I found myself studying during lunchtime and at break time at work but I had a good support network within my family. There were a few times when I felt the pressure and to be honest felt like packing it in but they were there to encourage me on and I am so glad that I did."
Dr Rosemary Hamilton, Director of The Open University in Ireland, said: "Degree ceremonies are always a special time for both students and their families, as they have all had to make sacrifices along the way. Many started enjoying the benefits during their studies as new career opportunities arose, or they achieved great personal satisfaction from developing a special interest." For more information about The Open University's range of courses and qualifications you can call into the new headquarters at 110 Victoria Street, Belfast, BT1 3GN or Tel: 028 9032 3722 or visit www.open.ac.uk