Woody's Degree #YouCaringGives

For: Woodstock Taylor
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Organizer: Woodstock Taylor
Woody's Degree  #YouCaringGives (Woodstock Taylor)
£5,746
of £10,000 goal
57% Complete
Raised by 148 donors

The Story

BREAKING NEWS - We did it!!!

In case you feel moved to help me with the transition back into the "real world", this fund will remain open until after I graduate in September.

Here's where we were 17 months ago....

I'm an old musician trying to get a degree. Too old, unfortunately, to receive a full student loan to cover all the costs of doing so. But not too old to learn, and not too proud to ask for help. So I'm asking for yours.

My first attempt was around 40 years ago - that didn't go so well, due to a combination of glandular fever and a very nasty experience. Not having a degree has held me back from applying for jobs I'm able, but not qualified, to do. I've had an interesting and eventful life and achieved a few other things the hard way, but this has always felt like unfinished business.

Till 2013 I supported myself by working as a voice coach and performer, but then my house burned down and with it my main place of work. I've been recovering from that shock since then, as well as dealing with the challenge of homelessness. Now I'm staying with friends and rebuilding my life from scratch. It's an unusual opportunity but I'm glad to have the chance to start again.

At the end of January 2016 I was accepted on a one year BA Hons course in Performance Industries at Wolverhampton University (studying in Glasgow). The course began on Feb 1. I hit a snag over funding and had to pull out on the first day as it didn't look as though I'd get a loan. After a month of wrangling I am now getting a student loan for my fees and have rejoined the course but due to my advanced age I don't qualify for a loan to cover my living expenses (normally £10,702). Inconvenient though it is, I do need to eat, and that sort of thing, while I'm studying. So I need the money right now.

The course is intensive and looks as though it will also be very enjoyable. In addition to the closure I hope to achieve after my early academic disappointment, a degree is more necessary than ever for those of us who find ourselves with extra working years before we qualify for a state pension. Who knows - I might get a taste for the academic life and try for a further qualification! But one thing at a time.

This campaign is in response to a wave of support I've received from friends on social media who have suggested that if they all chipped in I might be able to raise enough money to see this thing through. It is certainly my dearest wish to achieve this academic goal, and I am grateful for any contribution, however big or small, towards making it happen.

*A quick note: the name on the PayPal account may be unfamiliar to you - please don't be put off from donating because of it. It is an administrative necessity for banking purposes - the funds are gathering in the right place.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on July 30, 2017

Posted on July 30, 2017

Graduation is on September 5 in Glasgow. It's something I didn't dare to think about as I was focusing on the course, and it does, of course, involve costs like costume hire, photography and travel. Celebrations will also take place in Edinburgh to which all sponsors will be warmly invited nearer the time. Any contributions, however small, towards the expenses of this rite of passage will be much, much appreciated. 

Posted on June 21, 2017

Posted on June 21, 2017

The results are in and I have passed! A mere 40 years after I first started university, I have finally completed my undergraduate studies. I am now officially a Graduand - I can't call myself a graduate until I have actually graduated.
What seemed like an impossible task has been accomplished, solely due to the generosity of everyone who has donated to this fund. I won't pretend it was easy - alongside health challenges there was more than one occasion when I honestly believed I wouldn't be able to afford to continue, but because of each of you, the job is done. There really aren't words to express how grateful I am to all my supporters - I simply couldn't have done it without you. You've shown me that when the chips are down, good people are eager to help, and goals that seem insurmountable can be achieved. Many, many, many thanks to all who donated. Not just for the money, but also for believing in me when I didn't always believe in myself.

What's next? I shall be performing a one-woman cabaret at the Edinburgh Fringe in August: More Than One Hat, 17:15-18:15 at The Street, August 14-16 inclusive. You can keep track of my musical activities on Facebook, and I shall be returning to private voice coaching - check out my website.

In case you feel moved to help me with the transition back into the "real world", this fund will remain open until after I graduate in September. As ever, please don't be put off if the name on the PayPal transaction is unfamiliar to you. It is the correct account, and a necessity for banking purposes.


Posted on May 24, 2017

Posted on May 24, 2017

Well, that's it. I hope. Final submissions made within minutes of the deadline. The university uses an uploading programme called Pebblepad which is supposed to make everything much easier. I am here to tell you it doesn't. I've probably lost half my bodyweight in sweat from the anxiety of checking and re-checking documents have the right reference numbers and information and have gone into the right box on the system. And all on a rather intermittent Internet signal. This was far scarier than any performance. But it's done. And that's that until we get the results.

I'm pleased that Wolverhampton gives us the opportunity for re-sits in the event we haven't made the grade - it's a relief to know there's a second chance if it's needed. Obviously I'm hoping it won't be but if it is, I'll be very grateful for it.

So here we are: between us - all my lovely and generous supporters and me - we've got to the end of the course. I shall leave this fundraiser open for a little while in case people feel moved to make some last minute donations (I am technically still a student for a few weeks longer). The rewards mentioned in previous updates still apply (retrospectively too), and I shall be busying myself with delivering them over the coming week. If you've donated and would like one, let me know.

Next stop - building up my business and making a living. I am already available for gigs, recording sessions and voice coaching/singing lessons. You can see my teaching website at http://absolutepitch.me - I'll be working on Skype as well as in person so don't be shy about getting in touch if you think I can help you.

Meantime, a massive, enormous, humungous THANK YOU to all who have enabled me to get to the end of my degree course. We made just over half what I would have got as a student loan had I been a few years younger, and though it's been tight and there were times I thought I might not make it, I was able to get to the finish line thanks to your help. I have been totally and utterly awestruck by everyone's generosity. In spite of indications to the contrary, people can be perfectly wonderful. Thank you thank you thank you.

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