Bannockburn local Kirsty Grant is following her dreams after returning to education and hopes to encourage others by sharing her story with The Stirling News:

Returning to education was a thought that often entered my mind throughout my adult life.

I had worked in retail since leaving school at 16 and was promoted to shop manager two years later. Moving jobs every few years and learning new skills as retail manager kept things fresh for me, but I felt like I was in the wrong career.

My passion was writing and I was desperate to develop my skills, but didn’t know where to turn to for advice. By my mid-30s I felt that window of opportunity was gone so I continued reluctantly on my career path.

Just before my 38th birthday, my mother passed away. I suddenly realised how short life was and how much I desperately wanted change. I lost all interest in retail management and decided on a whim to apply to college.

I was accepted onto an Access to Humanities course and started the following August. It was a daunting experience leaving a well-paid job to manage on a small college bursary but I managed.

During my time in college, I did some work experience with the Dalkeith Advertiser. They published one of my articles and this was when I started to believe in myself.

I left college with good results, which enabled me to move to Stirling and begin a BA Hons course in English literature at the university.

I have had my fair share of obstacles in the past few years. In second year I had a hysterectomy due to ongoing health problems then, eight weeks later, my partner Helen became paralysed from the chest down; a result of a rare neurological condition called Neuromyelitis Optica.

She was hospitalised for two months while she learned to walk again. I visited her daily whilst maintaining my studying and part time job.

Despite these obstacles, I have had some successes, In July 2014, Melange books published my fist novella ‘Loved Settled and Understood’, and more recently, The Write Angle magazine published one of my poems.

Returning to education has changed my life for the better. I am now exactly where I want to be.

Have you made a significant change to improve your life? Tell The Stirling News by emailing, calling 01259 230639 or by popping into the office at 39 Drysdale Street, Alloa.