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'Getting knocked back made me more determined to be a nurse'

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When Becky didn’t get a place at her first-choice university she didn’t know where to turn, but a cadetship helped reignite her love of nursing


As I near the end of my first year as a nursing student it is easy for me to worry about my ever-looming deadlines and forget what it took for me to get here.

Back when I chose my A-levels, I selected only health and social care, avoiding adding another to my already decided human biology. I had no idea I was already unknowingly taking the first step in stumbling upon my future vocation.

I had a real passion for biology and noticed it often overlapped with my health and social care modues; everything clicked.

As we studied careers I began to understand that this overlapping wasn’t as accidental as I thought.

I had a hunger to learn more about my newly found passion. Somehow it all began to come together and I applied for my nursing degree. In my head it would all go to plan, I was predicted far higher grades than I needed and in my first interview I couldn’t have been more excited. I was so confident that I didn’t even attend the other interviews, I know which university I wanted to go to so I didn’t see any need.

“I had a hunger to learn more about my newly found passion”

So when I didn’t get any offers I suddenly found myself leaving sixth form with nothing other than my good grades and no idea where to turn. Left with nothing but the feedback of “more experience in interviews needed”, I felt totally lost.

Then I received an early morning phone call from an old teacher who told me about a cadetship: “there are not many places at all but it’s worth a try,” she said.

“A try”: that’s all it seemed like at the time.

I had lost all confidence in myself but I wrote a personal statement and sent it off, not feeling very hopeful.

Even when I received an invitation for an interview I wasn’t optimistic. I felt as though I had failed myself in the past by trying to tell interviewees what I thought they wanted to hear so this time I just went for it. I let my heart do the speaking and couldn’t hide my passion for the art of nursing and when they handed me my contract to sign, it was clear they could see it.

“I let my heart do the speaking and couldn’t hide my passion”

It wasn’t until I was telling my mother the good news that I actually realised how good of an opportunity this was and how it was actually perfect for me!

Experience, a wage, academic study and working alongside nurses in the environment I will be working in when I qualify. It sunk in and she summed it up when she simply said “everything happens for a reason Becky”.

Two years on and I’d experienced 17 different placements in areas from children’s and surgery to mental health and palliative care.

Then it was time to do it all again: applying for my degree. But this time I applied further afield and actually went to the interview.

This time I swallowed my pride and pushed nerves to the side and allowed myself to be vulnerable and show my true passion to a complete stranger.

A few days after my interview at Leeds, I was back on placement and when a UCAS notification. Frustratingly, I had to wait until my break when I could ring my sister to ask her to check the message.

I couldn’t believe it - I GOT IN!

“It all came together and now I know everything was sent to test me”

Moving away from home, meeting wonderful new people, completing my first and second placement and plenty of study has all been a complete blur.

Now here I am, like I said worrying about deadlines and finances. But it all came together and now I know everything was sent to test me.

If I had been offered a place first try or if it had been an obvious career choice in the beginning maybe I would have taken it for granted. Without the cadetship I would not have the experience, learnt the lessons and I certainly would not have the confidence to reapply.

Nursing is about commitment and you have to keep the faith, know that if you work hard enough and learn from your mistakes.

Everything truly does happen for a reason.

Becky Trainor is studying nursing at Leeds University

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