Posted Wednesday 8 August 2012
Abim Anyiam from Sidcup in Kent has always had a keen interest in the human body and a natural ability at science. Inspired by her brother's achievements in medicine she too wanted to train to be a doctor. When she didn't achieve the grades she needed to study medicine at university, however, she was downcast and unsure whether to repeat her A-levels or look for a different course. After discussing her options with family, she concluded that she still wanted to study something related to her interests and so decided to see which courses were available through Clearing.
"Clearing is a bit like a degree course sale where students with the right entry points can snap up vacant places that universities have left for the year," Abim explained. "I thought it would be a daunting process but, in the end, I found it surprisingly stress-free."
Once she had identified courses that appealed to her, Abim got straight on the phone to Kingston University to ask about its human biology degree course. She spoke directly to a senior academic and sounded him out about what she wanted to do. "The tutor I spoke to was knowledgeable but also very friendly," the 21 year old said. "He told me there and then I had secured a place on the course and I was so relieved."
As her application had been late, Abim knew she wouldn't be able to secure a place in halls of residence. "I was worried I wouldn't find anywhere to live, but the University's accommodation services department gave me lots of brilliant advice," she said. "They can put students in touch with others looking for somewhere to live and I met one of my closest friends this way."
Although Kingston University hadn't originally been Abim's first choice, it had definitely turned out to be the right one for her, she said. "The lecturers are really inspiring at Kingston and they have so much knowledge in the fields they teach. They've introduced me to things I would never have considered such as the British Society for Parasitology. Joining the society led to me presenting some of my research findings at a conference in Glasgow."
Having successfully completed her degree in human biology, Abim is now studying for a Masters in parasitology at the University. The opportunity to get involved in activities outside the classroom had been a key factor in encouraging her to stay on for a postgraduate qualification, she said. "Freshers' Fayre was so good - it had something for everyone, not just for first year students. I went during my second year and intend to go again this September," she added.
Her time at Kingston University has now spurred Abim on to greater things. Once she has completed her Masters she is keen to undertake a PhD and become a different type of doctor to the one she was originally striving to be. She also wants to travel around Africa, South America and Asia to share her knowledge and educate people about diseases in deprived communities.
"Students who don't get the grades they'd hoped for shouldn't worry. Even though you might not be able to go to your first choice university, you may still be able to find the perfect place for you," Abim said. "I wish I'd known sooner what opportunities Clearing could open up for me. You just have to be flexible and go for it."