Studying Mental Health Nursing at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is a 'dream come true' for Molly Kiltie.
The 25-year-old has wanted to be a nurse since her teens, but when she didn't get the grades she chose a different career path.
Never giving up on her ambition, she built up her knowledge and experience over a number of years until she was university-ready.
Now, not only does she 'love' her course but she is also supporting fellow students through her blog, the Pint Sized Student Nurse.
"It took me so long to get here I want to make the most of what's on offer," she said.
Born in Caerphilly, Molly studied science-based subjects, but became demotivated by the grades she got in her first year of A-levels.
"I didn't quite take it seriously enough," she said. "So I dropped out and put it behind me.
"I trained as a beauty therapist and had my own business alongside working at House of Fraser.
"I would meet clients who were nurses and would always say, 'Oh I wish I had my time again to do that'. They told me, 'If you want to do it, you will'."
Feeling inspired, Molly applied for an Access to Healthcare course at her local college and, to complement her studies, worked as a community carer and then a support worker for people with mental health conditions. She applied for a relevant degree, but didn't land a place and so embarked on a foundation degree to improve her chances.
"I reapplied for the nursing degree, but again got rejected even though I had experience, the grades and had passed the course," she said. "By this point my dream seemed a lot further away than expected.
"I didn't have a back-up plan. I was stressed."
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Sat in the hairdresser's and scrolling through the UCAS website to look at Clearing options, Molly spotted DMU and realised she met the requirements.
"I thought there must be a catch," she said. "I rang and was told they could give me a conditional offer. I had a Skype interview and was accepted. It was amazing, I cried with happiness."
Having never been to Leicester, Molly booked herself on an Open Day.
"I came here with my mum and when I saw the DMU sign it was a bit like seeing a celebrity," she said. "I was excited to move to a new place and do a course I wanted to."
Now in her second year, Molly 'loves' her course, particularly the practice side, and has had placements at a personality disorder service, an acute all-female ward and in a community mental health team for older adults.
However, it was her first placement with an art co-ordinator at a social inclusion group that gave her the push to be creative herself and start a blog - something she'd always wanted to do.
"I remember scrolling through the internet to help me with tips and advice for placement and thinking, 'I wonder why there aren't more blogs about being a student nurse?' Then it hit me."
The Pint Sized Student Nurse covers topics from how to survive a night shift to academic writing and maintaining good mental health.
"At nursing events people come up and say, 'You're the one with the blog'," added Molly. "It has helped me make connections that could come in handy in the future."
Posted on Monday 3rd June 2019