Clearing applicant's experience on the cardiac ward gets to the heart of her social work career ambitions

Posted Monday 31 July 2017

Busy mum Rochelle Watson was so determined to make her dream of working with children a reality that nothing could stop her securing a place at Kingston University through Clearing.

Despite juggling her studies with looking after her baby son, 22-year-old Rochelle had successfully completed a foundation year at another university. Through that course – and her experiences working on a busy London hospital cardiac ward – she realised her passion was working with young people. "Although I was working on an adult ward, some of the patients were only just turning 18 and many of the adults were carers," she explained. "Supporting these young people, parents and their families gave me a new perspective."

Rochelle began looking for courses that would help make her dream a reality. After spotting Kingston University's working with children and young people degree course and talking to friends who were already students there, she contacted the course leader to find out more. "I really wanted to get on to the course, but I was worried I was too late to apply," she said. "They reassured me that there was still time and that I should try Clearing." Rochelle was offered a place on the course and has just successfully completed her first year.

It hasn't been easy. Juggling parenthood with her studies and a bout of ill health that left her hospitalised at a crucial time in the course have tested her resolve but Rochelle's determination to reach her goal – along with guidance from her lecturers – has kept her going. "The tutors are so enthusiastic and keen to pass on their knowledge," she explained. "During the course, I discovered I was dyslexic and my tutor encouraged me to seek further help. Now I have extra support and it's given me so much more confidence."

As well her academic work, Rochelle has taken advantage of the other opportunities the University offers students. She is a student ambassador, helped organise a social work conference, participated in a personal development programme and became a mentor. She also took part in a social innovation scheme that helps charities develop their marketing campaigns – presenting her recommendations at an event in London's Canary Wharf.

Achieving her university place through Clearing was just the first step on Rochelle's career ladder. She has her sights set on a postgraduate degree at Kingston, with the ultimate goal of working in schools with children with attendance issues. "It's hard work if it's late by the time you get home and you know you've got coursework to do but you learn to manage your time differently," she concluded. "Some people see having a child as a barrier, but being a mum and studying has helped me to reflect on how far I've come."

"The most important thing is to persevere. Even if you've experienced rejection, don't give up. Look at Clearing as an option – another chance to study. Think about the end result, what you want to achieve, and keep your eye on the goal."

Course leader Susan Watson agrees that Clearing is the time for applicants to really sell themselves. "Rochelle is a great example of how Clearing can open doors for people who want to succeed," she said. "Determination, ability and passion are all great qualities, and combined with all the opportunities available at the University, will help you become the kind of professional employers are desperately looking for."

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