Ruth is featured in our ‘Humans of LJMU’ series in collaboration with the ‘Humans of Liverpool’ social media account, sharing the stories of the people who make our city, communities and university the vibrant, inclusive place it is in celebration of our bicentenary year.
Returning to Liverpool after more than a decade living in Spain, Ruth was encouraged to volunteer at a children’s centre which marked the start of her own journey in education. It eventually led to her studying learning, development and support at LJMU, graduating in 2016. In her interview, she reflects on her dyslexia diagnosis and her new-found confidence that study has given her.
Ruth is a role model to her own children and her courage to pursue further study as a mature student mirrors the ethos of the university.
“I always felt quite thick, but when I was tested for dyslexia and got my diagnosis, I realised that, actually, I wasn’t thick. I just had to use different strategies and discover how I learnt best. My confidence went up after that.”
– Ruth Scully
Ruth’s ‘Humans of LJMU’ interview
“I travelled to Spain in 1997 to work there for the summer with my friend, and I never came back. I ended up meeting my ex-partner, who is Spanish, and we had our two children over there. After 12 years, I decided that I'd just fallen out of love with the place. We had loads of friends out there but no family. I wanted the kids to have the childhood I had, with their nan and family around, so I made the decision to move back to Liverpool. I came back to England with £40 in my pocket, three suitcases and two children.
“I'd always worked in hospitality and retail. I'd done bar work in Spain, and we owned our own bar. But when I returned to Liverpool, I had no job and absolutely no confidence. I remember my sister Katie had to hold my hand the first time I went to volunteer at the children's centre because my confidence was that low. Then I met one of the women that worked there. She was so happy and kind, and inspirational. I went back the next day on my own and thought, ‘I can do this.’ I do believe you only fail if you don't try. So, I thought, my head's not going to fall off; I'll have a go. After that, I was hooked on learning new things.
“First, I did my maths and English functional skills courses through the children's centre. Then I went to study Spanish at GCSE to boost my confidence, and I got an A*. When I was in one of my classes, I kept writing God instead of dog, over and over. The teacher said to me, are you dyslexic? I laughed it off. I've had epilepsy from the age of eight. I was always on medication, so I don't remember a lot about being in primary school and high school. I always felt quite thick, but when I was tested
for dyslexia and got my diagnosis, I realised that, actually, I wasn't thick. I just had to use different strategies and discover how I learnt best.
“My confidence went up after that. I've been involved in education ever since, and I've carried on my own learning journey. I studied learning, development and support at John Moores, and I'm now studying for my second degree in psychology.”