Kirkcaldy woman’s OU degree hailed as ‘incredible example’

Anna Drysdale and her daughter Fiona
Anna Drysdale and her daughter Fiona

A Kirkcaldy woman has completed her Open University degree – 34 years after starting it.

Anna Drysdale, 62, became a Bachelor of Science last week when she joined over 50o0 students at a graduation ceremony in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall last week.

She began studying in 1985 inspired by her then new-born daughter – who now has children of her own – and fitted her study around lots of big life events, including work, children, marriage and divorce, illness and bereavement.

The humanist celebrant has also seen huge change in the teaching of the OU, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Anna said: “Achieving my degree, it’s life-changing. From my generation in the family, I’m the only graduate.

“When I got handed my daughter Fiona, I just thought, “I don’t ever want you to be ashamed of me. I want you to be proud of me.” The motivation for my studies was to prove that I was just as good as everybody else.

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“In 1985, learning was somewhat different. You were sent books and audio cassettes in the post. You would have to set your alarm to get up at daft o’clock to watch the television programmes.

“Essays were hand-written, sent to be marked, then duly returned by post. More recently, I enjoyed the online forums, and the engagement among the students on online tutorials was inspiring.

“Some journeys are longer than others, and mine has been longer than most. But on every step of the way The Open University has provided me with support – and choices. The beauty of OU study is that you can always pick it up at a later, and hopefully better, time. Now I just need to think, what next?”

Susan Stewart, director of The Open University in Scotland, hailed Anna as “an incredible example” of what people can achieve.”

She added: “There’s no such thing as a typical OU student but what they all have in common is that they have hugely busy lives.

“They fit their study in along with family, work and all sorts of other responsibilities, which makes today’s ceremonies particularly special.”

“Anna is an incredible example of that dedication and it’s an absolute pleasure to be able to celebrate with her and fellow graduates today.”

Honorary degrees were also presented to tennis coach Judy Murray OBE, author Professor Louise Welsh, and campaigner Dr Corinne Hutton.