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Sarah Neeson is an AAT superhero. Her dedication to completing her course was immense. Despite raising a family and running her own hairdressing business, she would not let anything get in the way.
Sarah is a credit to all the hardworking AAT mums out there, and to anyone who wants to succeed in higher education.
Here is her story.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a former business owner, training as a management accountant in Chester.
When did you decide to study AAT and what made you choose this course?
I decided to study AAT when I had my first child. I wanted a career that could help me support my family and give me the fulfilment in my work life.
What made you choose Eagle to study AAT?
I chose Eagle because I liked the flexibility of their study methods. I had 2 young children and a business to run so couldn’t commit to set study sessions or exam timetables.
Once I started my AAT level 2 I couldn’t imagine studying with anyone else. The materials were so easy to follow and the staff were so kind and helpful.
“AAT definitely opened doors for me.”
How do you separate time between studying, working and just living your life?
I had to juggle my time a lot when studying AAT. I have a very supportive family but I would often find myself sat at the kitchen table pacifying a baby, and doing tasks for work clients, whilst studying.
I rarely felt pressured because I could take exams whenever it suited me. I personally like to book my next exam just after I pass the last one so that I always have a target to aim towards.
What do you like the most about studying AAT?
The feeling of accomplishment whenever I pass something, and knowing that I’m building more opportunities for your family.
What do you dislike the most about studying AAT?
Having to motivate myself to study. If I’m tired, or if it’s a sunny Sunday afternoon, and I want to spend it with my family, it can be hard to focus on my goals.
Do you feel AAT will provide you with new career prospects?
AAT definitely opened doors for me. As I didn’t have much practical finance experience (I relied on an accountant), when I gained my AAT Level 4 I went and took a temporary entry level AP job.
Within 4 months, I got a job as finance assistant and I love it. I’ve been here 6 months now, had 2 pay rises, and a full study contract to complete my CIMA. Without AAT I wouldn’t have been able to do that.
Have you faced any difficult obstacles whilst studying for AAT?
Sitting in a 2 hour exam whilst 8 months pregnant. I had to return to do my next exam by the time my son was 8 weeks old, and I was breastfeeding him at the time!
This was a unique challenge, but well worth it.
“When I was pregnant, Eagle were really supportive.”
How did you overcome those obstacles?
When I was pregnant Eagle were very supportive. For the exam, after I had my son, my husband sat him in the café (on site). When I finished, I went over and fed him
If you could give advice to somebody considering studying AAT, what would it be?
That your only limit is how much motivation you have, and that you should keep going. It has already opened more doors than my degree ever did.
Finally, in just three words, describe your experience of AAT so far.
Life changing experience