Choosing to study Medical Science at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is the best decision Lia Jones has made.
Although initially heartbroken that she didn't get the A-level grades to go straight into medicine - her dream from the age of 11 - she soon adapted and has benefited from this "detour".
Now, not only is Lia graduating top of her class but she is also three months into her doctor training.
Lia credits DMU with offering the support she needed to secure her place on the graduate entry medicine (MB ChB) course at Warwick Medical School.
She said: "Warwick is where I always wanted to be. It has the biggest cohort and a great reputation.
"But I am proud of DMU and wouldn't have it any other way."
Lia first wanted to be a doctor because she liked the idea of helping people and doing science every day. "I still do," she said.
"I chose Medical Science because I didn't have the grades.
"To begin with I was heartbroken but coming to DMU was a positive experience - it was the best thing I ever did.
"I just had the best time. I made friends, enjoyed the course, had lovely lecturers and now will have two degrees, which will make me a better competitor.
"I think I needed this step. I have greater confidence and am more mature."
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London-born Lia had great support at DMU from day one. She said: "I had really good lecturers. They took me wanting to be a doctor at face value. The attitude was, 'let's get you there'."
The 22-year-old said knowledge gained on her DMU degree, including clinical skills, has helped prepare her for this four-year course, which she is finding "very exciting".
She said: "Being a doctor takes dedication and sacrifice. But to get a good degree you have to be organised and it brings about a lot of skills, and I will be able to use these at Warwick."
Work experience with #DMUlocal, which uses the skills of students and staff to make a difference to the community, has also benefited Lia.
"With medicine you have to think outside the box for work experience," she said.
Lia volunteered with Macmillan Cancer Support and also took part in a School Support project.
She said: "I wanted to work in paediatrics, so I thought it would be good experience.
"It was lovely. I helped out with the homework club and assisted in class."
Lia has since decided paediatrics isn't for her and is thinking about A&E or possibly surgery.
She added: "After the degree you do two foundation years where you go to lots of different specialities and then pick where you'd like to be."
Posted on Wednesday 25th January 2017