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A day in the life of an Access student

As I turn into the College car park, I check the clock: I have five minutes to get to my Biology class. Phew, thank goodness the classes here take into account the school run! I hurry up the stairs and get to the Biology room just as my lecturer arrives. I say hello to my friends, take my seat and get my folder out. Honestly, if you’d told me a year ago that I would be back in a classroom eagerly waiting for a Biology lesson to start, I’d have laughed. But about 6 months ago, I decided that I’d waited long enough to fulfil my dream of becoming a paediatric nurse and applied for Access. The interview was great: I got to talk about my ambitions and the lecturers soon convinced me that it is absolutely possible for a 27-year-old single mum to go back to education. Help and support is available and I don’t need to be rich in order to study.

I have a lot of Biology lessons and it’s hard work but learning about the human body is fascinating. I’m surprised how much I’m enjoying learning, something that didn’t come easy to me at school. My lecturer is very aware that not all of us have huge Biology knowledge and makes sure we all understand everything before she moves on. Today we discuss the kidney and are being set an assignment to outline the main kidney functions with a diagram.

We have double lessons for everything, so after Biology it’s a quick lunch in the Refectory, followed by a coffee outside in the sun.

Then it’s all the way up to the 5th floor for our Psychology class. Today’s lesson is all about the link between physical and emotional wellbeing. I’m finding this so interesting, especially when we have a group discussion and talk about things like stress and mental illness. My classmates and I all think this is really important. Our lecturer used to be a nurse and tells us about her experiences, which makes it all very real!

My lessons end in time for me to collect my children from school but today I’ve put them into the after school club because I have an essay to complete for Sociology (about the history of the NHS) and I also want to make a start on that Biology assignment. I head to the Study Room with two of my friends and we grab some books from the shelves and get to it. This is a quiet study zone, which helps with focusing on our work and we soon get it done. We submit everything electronically, so don’t have to print things out. Amazingly, I now know how to write an academic essay – who’d have thought?

I say goodbye to my friends and get into my car to collect my children and start my second job: being a mum. Once my kids are all fed and off to bed, I might have another look at my personal statement for university or probably go onto some of the nursing forums. Sometimes, I think I’m mad for wanting more from life and heading to university at my age. But then I think about my children and the fact that I want them to be proud of me. I’m going to achieve my dream: I’m going to be a nurse.