It’s two years in January since I moved to this city, moved to Leicester and WOW things have changed from that first day here.
I spent my GCSE years in/out of hospital and managed to get decent grades, mostly B’s. Two A’s and a C in Spanish. I hated Spanish (I also regret not appreciating having the chance to learn another language). I ended up in hospital for almost a year after GCSE’s and was unable to do my AS Levels, bar English Language which I taught myself. When I was discharged I went back to school (twice) to try do them and ended up leaving. I was sad because I loved my school. I went to a grammar school and I am very fortunate to have had the education that I did, but it wasn’t right for me. I wasn’t ready. I tried to go to a different college to do a different type of course, I gave up that after one day. I tried an apprentice in childcare and that went the same. I tried to get a job, but I was too much of a mess and that was obvious in my interview.
I ended up taking a year out, and then went to another college the following year. That turned into a struggle as I relapsed with my eating disorder however I managed it. I didn’t go back into inpatient care, I did it as an outpatient with just a brief stay on a medical ward for re-feeding.
I applied to five universities, to do mental health nursing, but changed my mind and went through an option called ‘UCAS Extra’ to do Sociology at Greenwich in London. They accepted me straight away and that was ‘The Plan’ up until exam results day when my desire to do nursing got the better of me and I went through clearing to do it at the university I am at now.
I started with the January intake, did my first placement on a rehabilitation unit (ironic that it’s a rehab unit I’d be going into if I interrupted my degree). I enjoyed it, I did. It’s not like any other degree. It’s full-time, really full-time, and it’s stressful. I struggled a lot, ended up in hospital multiple times and although occupational health were trying to give me the chance to stay, it was beginning to look bleak and I was struggling. Struggling, and not being totally honest neither, and after 8 months, I left.
The amazing thing is, as much as I loved nursing, as much as it meant everything to me and I really wanted to have that career and help other people, as much as I admire it and people doing it, I have no regrets. I mean actually none. I was terrified I would but I don’t. I don’t regret leaving it, nor do I regret doing it for the short while I did. Ok, the financial consequences suck, really suck. But I enjoyed it, I met an amazing friend, and it got me here.
I like here. I love here. When I left nursing, I spoke to the Journalism department at the same university. They were happy to take me on, after a brief chat with the course leads for both Journalism, and Media/Comms. And so here I am, halfway through my degree. I love the department. I love the people. I am constantly amazed at how brilliant they all are.
Doing nursing, it felt reasonably ok to admit my struggles. I guess I figured my course lead, as a nurse, would be pretty understanding. I was highly worried that if I had any problems on my new course, there would not be the same understanding. I could not have been more wrong.
I ended up at this university because I applied through clearing. I hadn’t even heard of it, and I probably wouldn’t have chosen it. Now? I wouldn’t be anywhere else. I’ve done two different courses, and every single member of staff I’ve come into contact with has been amazing. I cannot fault the place. I’m sure the university doesn’t rank high in tables, but tables don’t say it all.
When people found out I was swapping from nursing to journalism, media and communications there were two reactions. One was the ‘here we go again, she’s changing her mind’. The other was shock at how massive a change it was, how different the two courses were.
Except from the people who know me. Everyone who knows me knows I love writing, knows I am academic, knows I am passionate about everything and anything. My family know that at aged 12 I ordered a university prospectus and guess what degree I wanted to do? Yep, it was journalism.
If you told my primary or secondary school teachers that I am doing this course, they would not be surprised at all. This course really is me. This course suits me to the ground. My love and passion for mental health and making a difference is going nowhere. It comes out in my writing, I’ve blogged for charities and I want to go into the health sector. In my eyes I get to combine the two things I love most. How perfect is that?
The journey wasn’t perfect but I wouldn’t change a single thing. It’s ok to change your mind. Students do it all of the time. Heck, adults do it. You’ve just got to do what is right here and now, the rest will figure itself out.