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‘I failed first year – should I find another career?’


Can you advise this student nurse?

“I did well in my A-levels but have really struggled to get my head round writing essays at uni – my first three marks were 25%, 38% and 38%. Three fails. Then I failed two of them again the second time round.

“I’ve loved placement and my mentors have been really pleased with me but my university won’t let me carry on into second year and want me to repeat the year.

“I’m clearly never going to get my head around referencing, but I thought being caring was more important. If I can’t do the academic side of nursing, is it even worth me carrying on with the course?

“I know my tutor thinks I should drop out.”

- Katy, Wolverhampton

Please use the comments section below to share your advice


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Readers' comments (5)

  • my Advice as a 43 year old father of 5 ,second year student nurse who has been diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia. Don't give up, so what repeat first year. use it as a learning curve. go to student support, get all the help you can. never ever give up

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  • I don't start my Nursing course for a few weeks, but I previously did another degree.

    I would advise you not to give up, the jump from A Levels to university is massive. I got pretty awful marks in my first year, before uni I had no idea what referencing was and my essay structuring was absolutely horrible. Even at the end of my degree I still struggled with structure and referencing and I found essay writing a generally stressful experience, but I got through it. Now just before my second degree I am determined to get good essay marks.

    Repeat the year and use it to get any support you can, as long as you work at it your marks will improve. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time for your essay, and make sure you have a plan of how you are going to structure it. If you aren't sure about your structure ask your lecturer.

    University can be really hard but don't give up, it will get easier if you put the work in.

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  • Don't give up! If it's something you feel really passionately about and as you are doing well in practice then I'd strongly suggest you repeat the year. Get as much support you can from the university, go to any extra support sessions they do to learn about essay structure. Also do you know anyone in the years above who could advise you on essay writing? Maybe try your Nurse Society and see if they can offer advice too.

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  • If it's something you feel passionately about then do not give up. Like previously mentioned, the jump from whatever you've done before to university degree is big. If you know you are a nurse, re take your first year. It may be another year, but you will have a better feel for what you're doing now. Take your time when referencing. I STILL faff up with referencing, but there are many tools online which can help you. When you graduate, imagine how proud you are going to feel of yourself, knowing you could've dropped out but chose to push further. Please believe in yourself.

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  • Sarah Suddick

    What support have uni given you? Does the library offer courses on online help? Are you able to see essays written and submitted by others so you can see what is expected? Can anyone help you with proof reading? If it's Harvard referencing you're required to use there's an online site:
    Which is useful.

    When I'm writing essays I highlight any quotes in red and worry about referencing these when I have finished. Once I've done a reference for the quote I turn it back to black.

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