(Success-6) Big Issue seller wins ‘dream’ place at Cambridge University



Special Note: This is a story of a homeless man, in England, and the incredible journey of how he “transformed” himself into a student at the world famous Cambridge University. Luck or diligence or opportunities or FATE! Here is a success story that I want you to read, maybe you will be inspired to do something with your life…a boring life, at the moment? Or simply going nowhere in your career or ambition? There are many such stories of sheer human determination, or wanting to do something with the status quo…you can do it! And best of all, if he can do it, I should be able to do it, also, and maybe better. I want to share a simple story with you…when I started my college education in America (from Singapore then), I fell in love with JC, not Jesus Christ, but a more mundane character in American late night TV shows. Every night without fail, I would get rid of my books and homework and sat down to watch Johnny Carson…a late night host. I will never forget what came through my mind every night: this is easy job. Learn to talk, to ask questions, sometimes stupid, sometimes funny, something informative…all kinds of questions. That is too easy for me.  I can do it too. The opportunity came to me when I was a visiting professor in China. I told my boss, the dean of the English Language Department, that I would like to host a TV-like-Talk-Show in the campus…the idea was to introduce All Chinese students to people who could speak fluent and proficient English…based on my growing conviction that in order for most Chinese students to speak or improve their oral English…they must expose themselves to people who can speak fluent English. So that was the basis for my Talk Show in the campus..a typical set up…a table and a few comfortable chairs around it…I also introduced a Chinese tea set…with a small fire to keep the tea warm for my guests…imagine a Talk Show in China, with Yours Sincerely as The Host~ Quietly I never told anyone about my dream of becoming a Talk Show Host some day! My original guests were foreigners, the so-called Native Speakers of the English Language…eventually I had Chinese students becoming my guests because of their ability to communicate in fluent English, with me, The Host. So, everything is possible if you want it hard enough. I had that dream for many years, since I was a college student in America and ever since I met Johnny Carson on late night TV talk show! Dream big and keep your dream always alive! Steve November 10, 2017


Big Issue seller wins ‘dream’ place at Cambridge University

Mark Molloy

The Telegraph       9 November 2017

A former homeless man who sold the Big Issue on the streets of Cambridge has just been given a place at Cambridge University – Cambridge News/BPM MEDIA

A former Big Issue seller has gone from living on the streets to studying English Literature at Cambridge University.

Geoff Edwards, 52, grew up in Liverpool and left school with two O-levels, he then worked as a field labourer before moving to Cambridge in search of work.

He spent years living in squats and on the streets of the River Cam city, spending most of his adult life homeless, while also suffering from depression.

Mr Edwards, who had a passion for reading from an early age, then began selling the Big Issue and he turned his life around when he attended an open day at Cambridge Regional College (CRC).

“I came to Cambridge from Liverpool to do field work, but the work dried up. I was homeless for a long time after that and I was isolated and getting anxious. Eventually I started selling the Big Issue on the streets of Cambridge which helped and gave me back a bit of self-respect,” he said.

“I knew I was in a rut and I decided to do something different with my life. I thought about how to address it and decided education was the way so I went to an open day at Cambridge Regional College. I wanted to get the qualifications to do English at university but I’d had a long time out of education and I only had Maths and English O levels, so I needed to do a gateway course.

“It did me so much good. There was always someone there to talk to and the college was very welcoming. I was worried about my age but studying makes you feel young and I have enjoyed mixing with young people.”

View photos

He is now studying English Literature at Cambridge University Credit: PA


He gained distinctions in an Access to Higher Education course, which gave him the qualifications needed to apply to one of the world’s most prestigious universities.

“Going to Cambridge University was a dream of mine, studying something I really love – I’m still getting used to the idea. This is what I have always wanted to do, but noone in my family had been to university so I didn’t even consider it,” he said.

“I didn’t think of applying to Cambridge – I didn’t think Cambridge University would take someone like me, but my tutor encouraged me to apply. It is the first thing I am proud of in my life.

“Cambridge is a big step up but I am looking forward to pushing myself. I can’t believe what I’ve achieved.”

(The number of homeless people in Britain has soared past 300,000 – an increase of 4 percent on last year – with one in 200 sleeping rough, the housing charity Shelter said this week. Edwards said selling “The Big Issue” – a magazine founded in 1991 to help the homeless earn a living – while sleeping on the streets had helped give him back “a bit of self-respect”.)

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