Wednesday 6 April 2016

Not got into university first time? My experience

It is that time of the year where everyone is finding out what university they are going to, and the excitement starts. For me and I think for many (a lot more than you think!), that isn't the way things go. A lot of people find themselves not getting into their first choice universities or in fact not any. That was me this time in 2012, and I have never, ever, before or since felt as disheartened as I did during that time of my life. All of my friends were doing academic courses and had all 5 offers in the bag before I had even heard back from one. I think it is a whole different ball games when it comes to vocational subjects. I had applied to do Midwifery as I had always wanted to be a neonatal nurse and this was the route which I have chosen to take. The process is very different as first of all you have to get an interview, at some uni's there was 30 places for over 1000 applicants and it was really tough. I never thought that I wouldn't get in as I had always had this grand 5 year plan in my head, and never had it ever crossed my mind that I would find myself in this situation. This was not because I was full of myself, I think it was because I was ensured by everyone at college I would get in, and that I wouldn't face these problems. Time after time, I would log on to UCAS and see rejections and it was simply heartbreaking to go through as a naive 17 year old. I had the pressure of also finishing my exams and now no plans, not only had I disappointed myself but also my family.

There and then I decided that I was taking the year out. I had a part time job at Debenhams at the time and I decided I would work there for a year earn some money, learn to drive and reapply. During this time I had already decided that I now wanted to do Children's Nursing instead as I was assured that this was a better route to follow to become a neonatal nurse. So I reapplied after doing some volunteer work and having gained confidence by working full time and being given some responsibility at work. Second time round the process was just as difficult, as I had now decided to apply for a course with even less places. However, thankfully I got three interviews and two offers. I was still really upset as I had got an interview for my first choice but unfortunately I was a little too timid in my interview and got overshone by others. So I had chosen to go to the University of Cumbria and that was where my life changed forever. It was so different to how I thought was university was going to be, this being both positive and negative. I wasn't sure whether to move away from home, and I have to say it was far harder than what I thought. I'm now here in my third year finishing my course in July, with a job due to start in September in a different department and not in neonates. There is only one word to describe how I feel currently and that is terrified.

I firmly believe that taking that year out allowed me to gain so much confidence, gather my thoughts and essentially grow up. Moving away is not an easy choice and for me being on placement for 6 months of each academic year, working 40 hours a week during nights and weekends has not been easy. The added pressure of having a small budget to live off, needing to also have a part time job, and juggling essays and life has also been hard. But I have learnt so much, have gained independence, confidence and I can't imagine being anywhere else now. For me I couldn't become a nurse without going to university so I didn't really have a choice. I also think I am very lucky that I always had some kind of idea of what I wanted to do and how to get there. I understand that many people will be in such a predicament over university decisions as at the end of the day it is a huge decision. All I kind of wanted to get out this post is to say that things don't always go to plan, but it is just a bump in the road and you will get to wherever you want to be as and when. I totally believe in fate and sometimes it can be heartbreaking, but you have to be willing to grit your teeth and dig your heels in deeper.

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