With English her second language, studying for a degree at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) hasn't always been easy for Mariama Diakite.
But thanks to her hard work, perseverance and DMU's support services, not only has Mariama graduated with a 2:1 but she has also received the award for most improved Health Studies student.
Now she is returning to campus this autumn to tell students about DMU's Centre for Learning and Study Support (CLaSS) and how they can benefit from the service.
Mariama said: "I am very honoured to be invited back to DMU because it will give me the opportunity to talk to students in person and tell them how useful CLaSS and other library support services are."
It was a desire to help others that attracted Mariama - from Conakry, Guinea - to the course. She said: "From a very young age, I became passionate to make a real difference to people's lives.
"But even though I knew I wanted to go into the healthcare sector, I wasn't sure which path to specialise in. The Health Studies course opens up opportunities."
DMU's inclusive approach helped her make the decision to study in Leicester.
"I believe the university promotes equality and values diversity regardless of age, race, disability, gender or sexual orientation," she said.
"As you walk through the campus, you see people of different ethnicities. This made me feel welcome and part of the society.
"With Leicester being a multicultural city, you feel a community spirit and there is a great atmosphere."
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Her favourite feature of the course - now renamed Health and Wellbeing in Society - was having the opportunity to explore and develop a wide range of transferable skills such as teamwork, public speaking, communication and writing. But Mariama's results did not always reflect the effort she put into her academic work.
The 27-year-old said: "Having English as a second language I have faced struggles which sometimes affected the quality of my assignments.
"However, I found CLaSS and other library support very useful. They helped me improve my referencing skills, note-taking, critical thinking and writing.
"Even if English is your first language, I personally think that CLaSS should be your first point of call."
Based in Kimberlin Library, the CLaSS service provides extra academic support in areas such as planning assignments and guidance on dissertations. Support is delivered in a number of ways, from online publications to tutorials and workshops, so students can find the approach that suits them best.
Mariama has now applied for the NHS Graduate Management Training Programme and would also like to study for a master's in the near future.
She added: "The university has prepared me to find my happiness in a career I will enjoy."
Posted on Tuesday 5th September 2017