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Sonia Takhar

Midwifery - BSc (Hons)

Sonia didn’t always plan to be a midwife – she left school with the aim of becoming cabin crew. But after several years flying long haul trips, and then working as a make-up artist, she decided it was time for a change. Her desire to help women have a positive birth experience led to her studying midwifery, and now she’s on her way to a rewarding new career.

"Midwifery wasn’t something I’d always wanted to do, it was something that I found later in life. When I left school, I had aspirations to become cabin crew; it was all I wanted to do and I went on to study for a diploma in travel and tourism. I was fortunate enough to land a flying job as cabin crew! I went on to fly for nine years, doing mostly long-haul trips for Emirates and Virgin Atlantic. It was the best nine years of my life, something that I will be forever grateful for and, if I’m honest, something I still miss. However, it was time for the next chapter in my life as I had started a family, so frequent trips away were not so easy. Following this, I was a make-up artist for well-known make up brand, MAC. I loved the creativity and versatility in the job and I’ve continued with my make-up artistry on a part-time basis while studying. However, I felt it was time to put more into something I felt passionate about - midwifery. I had a lot of friends who’d had negative birth experiences and I believed women should not be feeling this way after reaching such a huge milestone in their lives. If I could be the person who is able to provide support to women so that they have a positive birth experience, I want to be that woman who can be with women.

I’ve faced many personal challenges while studying my degree. As a single parent of two young children, finances have sometimes been stretched as well as my time! However BCU provides all the support to ensure that you receive everything you are entitled to as an adult learner. Advice is never far away and I always get a prompt response to my enquiries. The Head of Department for Midwifery and my tutors have all been an amazing support throughout my degree, always available for any concerns, providing tutorial support when needed and signposting me to PDD (Personal Development Department) for academic help (something that I needed as I was returning to education as a mature student). They understand the intensity of the course so they always provide encouragement and kindness, which really helps you to keep ploughing through even on the occasions you feel like it’s impossible! They support us to maintain a balance between home and university life, encouraging us and reminding us we all need time for some self-care.

Tutorial support is always available, feedback for assessments has been helpful for future assessments as it encourages reflection on how to improve your work. There are opportunities for revision or skills workshops in order to help gain confidence prior to assessments and the expectations are made clear to ensure that you understand what is needed to achieve learning outcomes. As a result, my work on an academic level has changed greatly over the course of my degree. The knowledge I’ve gained from my course, both at University and on clinical placement, has been immense. I know so much more than I knew two years ago and working in a clinical setting allows you to put theory into practice, helping to reinforce and develop your learning and understanding.

Since becoming a student, as well as the extensive knowledge I’ve gained to prepare me for my role as midwife, I’ve learnt the importance of evidence-based practice in a healthcare setting. We’ve been given extensive career advice in preparation for the job market which has given me the confidence to apply for roles as I now recognise the strengths that I have to offer. I am also already considering what further education and professional development I can do as I think ahead and plan possible future career moves; being part of BCU gives you many options in this area. My passion for midwifery has grown; university has helped it to flourish and to bring out in me all the things I need to be the best midwife I can be. Once I’m working as a qualified midwife I have big plans to make an impact on the world of midwifery!

I’m currently a finalist for the ‘Student Midwife of the Year’ award in the Student Nursing Times Awards 2020. This is by far my biggest achievement to date. I’m so overwhelmed by the confidence my midwifery tutors had in me to nominate me for this award; it means a lot. I also had the amazing opportunity in the summer of 2019 of participating in an elective placement. Using the HELS Go Abroad scheme, I went to Pokhara in Nepal and had one of the most eye-opening experiences in my life. Participating in an observational placement in one of the largest government-run hospitals in the country gave me a new appreciation for the care that we provide in the UK to women and their families. I also realised how the smallest gestures can make such a huge impact on a woman when caring for her.

Being so close to becoming a qualified midwife is a life changing achievement for myself and my family. I have learnt so much about myself along the way and had opportunities to really make the contact I have with so many women count. For me, I AM BCU means a journey, one that, for me, has been life-changing. Excellence is something that is at the core of being part of BCU as it strives to support you in every way possible. Everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve, no matter your circumstance. To represent BCU is an honour; it is the place that has opened many new doors for me and my future, and has shown me that anything is possible!"

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