Meegan Worcester

Sustainability and Environmental Management BSc
Talking about
The Plus Programme

“When I was in college, I became estranged from my dad and my extended family and that was quite difficult. I was on the University of Leeds website looking at scholarships which talked a bit about estrangement and the Access to Leeds programme. I did a bit more research and saw there was a lot of support at Leeds for someone in my situation.

I was a bit nervous in the build-up to university because I was seeing all my friends from college saying their parents would help them drive to university, but my brother who I was living with at the time didn’t have a car so we had to get the train. I couldn’t pack a lot and there was the kind of nervousness of us getting public transport and making sure I had everything, and I felt a bit alone when my brother left. 

After I started talking to my new flatmates, I felt a lot better because even though they had more support than me in terms of family support, at the end of the day we were all there trying to look after ourselves alone for the first time. 

It’s a small team on the Plus Programme, all the staff are friendly and you really get to know who they are as the years go by. I think they’re very open to listening to different students, it’s not just a top-down approach, and with estranged students they’re very open to hearing what our thoughts are on different aspects of estrangement. 

I’ve found getting the weekly newsletters from the Plus Programme helpful. In my first year I was more interested in social things so I signed up to those, but in my second year I knew I was more interested in careers information. I’m looking forward to the revision sessions in my final year.

I attended a Civil Service Insight Day with the Department for Work and Pensions last year which was really good and I recognised a few faces from the Plus Programme who I could sit with throughout the day. Leeds is a big city and you see a lot of offices around, so being able to go inside as a student and see how office life works was really helpful. I was able to meet the people who worked there and they talked to us honestly about their journeys, and we got to ask them what their barriers to getting work were. It just made it feel a lot more real than reading things on a website. 

The Plus Programme has helped me gain confidence and I know that I’ll have loads of things to talk about when I graduate.”