She gave up a full-time job to start at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) last September - but the sacrifice is already paying off for Kate Ellis.
Not only does the Health Studies student love her course but she has also landed a role as a call handler for Leicestershire Police.
She will begin training next month, just before resuming her studies, and credits her classmates and mentor with helping her achieve so much so soon.
Kate said: "I feel so, so lucky. I keep on pinching myself.
"I have sacrificed so much to come to university and look at this as a good career opportunity.
"It will be a bit full-on but I'm really determined. I can work and study hard."
Born in Bromsgrove and living in Colchester, Kate was working as a team organiser in administration when she decided she needed to find something more fulfilling.
"I wanted to help people," she said.
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Giving up her full-time role and leaving behind close friends, she headed to Leicester and DMU.
Kate said: "I wanted to do Speech and Language Therapy but didn't have enough experience so was offered Health Studies (now renamed Health and Wellbeing in Society) instead. This appealed because of the variety of roles I could go into."
The 41-year-old is happy with her choice. "The course is so interesting and insightful," she said.
"It's a diverse cohort and I've formed a bond with people of a similar age."
It was one of her new friends that suggested joining the Employability Mentor Project.
"I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, felt I needed motivation and was lacking in confidence even though I shouldn't be," said Kate.
"My mentor, a police sergeant, has been amazing.
"He started working on me as a person, teaching me that confidence is a state of mind. He gave me tasks to do, made sure I looked after my health and told me about mindfulness.
"He also looked at my career and helped me with a plan for balancing my studies with my job."
Kate will be the first point of contact for people dialling 101 and 999. She said: "I've been told I have to be a Miss Marple! My job will be to find out exactly what the problem is, log the details and then send them over to dispatch."
Kate will need to remain calm, reassuring and empathetic, utilising skills learnt at DMU. In addition to her degree she has been on DMU's Dementia Awareness and Equality and Diversity courses, volunteered through #DMUlocal as a Diabetes UK Champion and been a member of the Contemporary Health society.
"I am really grateful to DMU for what they offer you," added Kate. "All I knew when I came was that I wanted to help people and now I've landed this job and have a career path. I'm so grateful to my friend and my mentor."
Posted on Tuesday 15th August 2017