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Becoming a Mature Student Nurse
Making the Change
I left school at the first opportunity, clutching a few meagre GCSEs. I needed to get myself to work and earning an income immediately. I had waited for years to pull myself out of the situation I’d grown up in.
I worked, and I worked hard. I took up as many training opportunities as I possibly could, and volunteered for lots of things. I ended up landing a brilliant role in a very well paid organisation. By the time I was 30 years old, I was earning plenty of money and sitting pretty in a secure job that I was great at.
I was utterly miserable.
My job was based in an office, and involved travelling the UK. The novelty of spending hours in various cities soon wore thin. Part of my role was to encourage university students to consider a public service career. Before long, my advice to others started to rub off on me.
I knew I was miserable. I knew that the ‘stress’ of the job was pretty soul destroying…my work felt as if it was meaningless. I didn’t feel as though I was making enough of a difference. I wasn’t fulfilled. I thought hard.
My Nan was my role model. She was a nurse, and I have always been so proud to tell people that.
One day, I had an idea. I dismissed it, initially. Then, I thought again. I could do something fulfilling, helpful, I could make a difference. I could become a nurse!
I contacted a colleague who worked in a university to explore my options. She didn’t see any problem with me trying to become a nurse, though I was worried that my scant GCSEs would be a problem.
She told me that I would need to complete an Access Diploma course, and put me in touch with the Distance Learning Centre. I took the plunge.
I worked hard for a year, by day in my desk job, by evening hunched over my laptop. My Access course taught me so much – academic writing, research, psychology – I even topped up my GCSE count by taking a Maths equivalent qualification.
Once I’d completed my Access course, I kept up my learning. I know my weak points, so I studied more maths and did a great free online course with FutureLearn.
Harder than the year long qualification was signing up with UCAS! In the UK, you have to register with UCAS in order to apply to university.
I applied. I waited. I got my interviews. I waited. I didn’t get the chance to go to the university of my choice. I waited.
Then, I got a chance. A university, my second choice, offered me a place. Suddenly my back became straighter, my head held high.
At 35 years old, I finally started university. As I write, I am nearing the end of my third week. I am delighted. I’m not earning any money, I have a three hour round trip to my university each day. I’ve lost the security of a regular wage.