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Alumni stories

We want to hear about your OU study experience, how your qualification has impacted your life, how you fit study around other commitments, the support you received and what you're up to now. If you want to tell your story, we'd love to hear from you. Read on to find out how members of the OU alumni community continue to fulfil their potential...

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A degree in the blink of an eye - literally

When it takes a minute to type one word, and three weeks to complete an exam, working towards a degree might feel out of reach. But not for Dawn Faizey-Webster who graduated from The Open University with a BA (Hons) in Ancient History last year and is now studying an MA in History of Art, despite having Locked-in Syndrome, a condition which has paralysed her almost completely.

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Submitting an assignment while under fire

Imagine trying to submit an assignment when you’re being fired at by the Taliban. Or studying while crossing enemy lines in a helicopter. That’s what it was like for British soldier Mike Niblett, a serving officer in the army for 24 years. Not only did Mike have to deal with the conflicts in Sarajevo, Afganistan and Iraq for his day job but, like any other Open University student, he needed to submit his assignments on time.

Image of the word 'autism' spelled out in coloured blocks: Thinkstock

A juggling act: living with autism

Paul Carabine is a pro when it comes to juggling. He’s a full-time history teacher and doctoral student at Glasgow University with two sons who have high dependency autism requiring around-the-clock care. He thanks the support of his wife Elaine and his OU study for helping him to pursue his dreams while remaining a doting father.

Image of book with a heart-shaped page: Thinkstock

Published author and mum of four

For years, Carys Bray dreamed of becoming a published author but having to care for four children made it very hard. But when her youngest finally went to school, was started to take steps to fulfil that dream by doing a degree in literature with The Open University.

Image of a Royal Navy ship: Thinkstock

Studying while in the Royal Navy

Andy Murray completed a maths exam in a Navy ship’s dining room, with a gas mask round his neck and Tomahawk missiles flying overhead. He studied while serving a 22-year stint in the Royal Navy and, thanks to his BSc (Hons) in Physical Science, he now travels the world as a gas turbine engineer.

Image of an athletics running track: Thinkstock

An insight into an out of sight world

Being visually impaired has never held Selina Litt back. Not only does she have an Open University degree, with ambitions to become a teacher, she also competed in last year’s Commonwealth Games, just missing out on a place in the finals.