Bobby Twidale – MA / PGDip Magazine Journalism Freelance Journalist for Good Housekeeping


“As a teacher, I’d attended open days and had already done postgraduate studies in careers education at NTU. I wish I’d got a pound every time I advised one of my pupils to think carefully about which job might get them out of bed each morning with a smile on their face – as I had during many happy years as a teacher. Now a 50-something career-changer, I wanted to find the thing that would continue to do the same for me in later life. With the wider University’s great record for student satisfaction and the Centre for Broadcasting and Journalism’s reputation for quality teaching, state of the art technology and highly experienced staff, NTU was a natural choice for me.

“On January 1, 2019, I accepted an offer to study a part-time Masters in Magazine Journalism over two years – for once, a new year’s resolution I was enthusiastic about.

“I knew it was no small challenge I was taking on. I hadn’t written an academic essay in over 30 years, and socially I’d be very much out of my comfort zone – most of the other students were likely to be in my sons’ age-group. In a small group of 20-somethings, there’s no hiding for the 55-year-old with grey hair, even one in jeans and trainers.

“We had to interview an industry professional as part of an assignment. My tutor encouraged me to be ambitious, so I emailed the editor-in-chief of a magazine I’ve read for nearly 40 years – Good Housekeeping. They replied. I danced round my kitchen in delight!

“I hesitated over my final question to them but knew I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t ask it and couldn’t believe my luck when they agreed to offer me work experience – Covid permitting. I already knew I wanted to work freelance after completing my degree, so this was an incredible opportunity. The piece was to be a first-person account of my experiences as a university student at 55 and would require a photo shoot in London.

“I’m now working as a freelance journalist for Good Housekeeping, a magazine I’ve read since the age of 18. And I can honestly say I will never forget the rush of joy when I heard The Times would be printing one of my stories as a lead article on page 3 – my first piece in a national newspaper.

“To anyone considering joining the 30,000-plus over-35s that, according to UCAS, apply annually to study at a UK university, I would say emphatically: ‘Do it!’ I’ve spent two years on the edge of my comfort-zone, and it’s changed everything. I’m re-energised, un-invisible, and I’ve found the thing that will get me out of bed with a smile on my face throughout my next career.”

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