Samantha Dowling

Nursing - Mental Health and Child - MSCI

Mum of four, Samantha, took it upon herself to start a degree in an area she’s passionate about, due to her life experiences. Juggling family life can sometimes make you lose sight of what you have time for, the wellness team at BCU have helped Samantha balance family life and be in full-time education.

‘I have known that I have wanted to get into nursing for a long time, it took me a while to consider it, establish how I was going to sort out childcare for my children and how full-time education would work alongside family life. Clearing was a great way for me to see what was available and what suited me best. Clearing was probably the best option for me because it opened up courses that I didn’t otherwise know existed. Through Clearing I found the dual course in Mental Health and Child Nursing which also includes an integrated masters. Being a dual course, it means I can study two subjects that I'm very passionate about at a high level.

I always had in mind that if I ever went to university, I would study midwifery or child nursing. The fact I was able to apply through Clearing meant I was able to clearly see what was available. The options available in Clearing meant that I was able to find something that was perfect for me, children and mental health are both areas that I'm passionate about. As a mother, I've really enjoyed my course because there's been topics that I've been able to supply personal experience to, as well as learning new things for my future.

The driving force for me to come here was the fact that I've had a lot of support with my children on the NHS and also with my own health in the past. I really felt it was my turn to give back. My youngest child went to nursery, so I took that as my opportunity to give back to society and to the NHS. I feel that I can contribute my experiences into my practice and be compassionate with each patient as I've got a unique perspective that I can add in that field.

Not only have my family been really understanding and supportive, I have been overwhelmed with the support from university too. The student wellbeing team have been brilliant and encouraged me to do my placement year as I didn’t think that would be an option with having four children. 

When applying to BCU, I missed the UCAS deadline because it was a lengthy process. Thankfully I found out about Clearing which meant I was still able to apply. The dedicated team who were working on the hotline were extremely helpful, they directed me to speak to the faculty to discuss my options and get all the information that I needed about the courses. I was absolutely elated to get an interview and was then offered a place. I was really impressed with the university and how they viewed me as a potential student entering the course. I was looking at two other universities and BCU definitely came out on top for communication and for being so helpful. There are so many lecturers that are passionate about what they teach, it makes such a difference, they are fantastic. 

To anyone who finds themselves applying through Clearing this year, I would say go for it, see what's available. It may turn out that it works in your favour, as it did for me. You've got nothing to lose and I believe I've gained so much by doing it this way. I thought about applying to university for a good year and was deliberating on how I was going to organise things, but in the end, I applied and it's been the best thing that could have happened to me.’