Profile - Betty, First Year MSci Nursing

Can you briefly summarise your background?

I am a hardworking, resilient, and self-motivated individual. Originally from Nigeria, I completed my A levels in a sixth form in London. I am currently a first year student studying nursing at the University of Exeter.

What support have you received before applying/during application and during your studies so far?

Before applying for this scholarship, I got support from my teachers in sixth form as they assisted me in searching for universities that offered scholarships, they also helped by reviewing my personal statement, and emailed me any scholarship opportunity they saw. The process of searching for universities was long as I had to stay back in school every day to call universities and make enquiries or search online about the scholarships they offered. This was not such a good experience as some universities turned me down, and this got me worried at the time because I thought I might not be able to go to university.

When applying to Exeter I was supported by Jim Price, who leads on the Sanctuary Scholarships, and he has continued to be supportive as he sends emails to check up on me. A virtual meeting was also arranged at the start of the academic year in October which was nice as I got to meet and connect with other Sanctuary Scholars at Exeter.

What are your career ambitions?

I am driven by a desire to help others and it has long been my ambition to pursue a career in nursing. My recent personal experiences have fuelled my desire to work in a field where I am ensuring vulnerable individuals feel wanted and safe. I look forward to working within a team of dedicated professionals who make a real difference to the wellbeing of individuals.

What is the biggest barrier you face to continuing your education/following your ambitions?

The main barrier was getting financial support which I am grateful that I have now.

What is your life like now? What challenges do you face?

I am happy and doing well, my course is going well and I am enjoying it. Academically, I have not faced any challenge, I have completed my first clinical placements and they have gone well. The main challenge has been the pandemic preventing me from being able to meet new people and make friends in the normal way, but I have been able to connect with new people through the Afro-Caribbean Society (ACS) group chat, and meet with fellow nursing students on placement.

Do you think you’d have applied to Exeter or any university without additional financial support?

I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to apply to university without financial support.

What’s been the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome?

Currently, I am in a very happy place in my life as I have been through some terrible experiences and I have been able to get through all of that and come out even stronger than before. Though it was not easy, because there were times I felt things were not moving in the right direction for me, and I felt like giving up, but then I realised that the moment you are about to give up is usually the moment right before a miracle happens and this kept me going.

What’s your proudest moment?

My first proudest moment was when I got the offer of the Sanctuary Scholarship, that is a day I will never forget as it was the beginning of a new journey in my life and I felt more hopeful about my future.

My second proudest moment was when I got my A level results. This meant more than a just an academic result to me, as it was evidence of my hardwork and resilience. I am happy I didn’t let my situation affect my academics but instead it motivated me to work harder.

This year I have been proud of my performance on placement. My first placement was at the Exeter Nightingale Hospital, which was caring mainly for COVID patients at the time. Initially, it felt terrified for my first placement and care experience to be with COVID patients however, it was an experience that brought out my humanity, challenged certian skills such as communication and observation skills and it also enlightened me more on the role of nurses in patient's care.

How do you imagine your life after studying at Exeter?

After studying at Exeter, I Imagine myself taking some time off to do things I love and securing a job either at the hospital or a GP practice as a registered nurse, depending on what route I decide to take. In addition I am considering the option of pursuing postgraduate study.

What has receiving a scholarship meant to you and how has it impacted your time as a student so far?

Being a recipient of this scholarship has given me the motivation I need to excel, as my main goal is to graduate as a registered nurse with a first class degree. Getting this scholarship has eased my financial burden, which will enable me focus fully on my learning without any distractions.

Having also recieved additional wellbeing support from the team, this year I applied to become a peer mentor for the incoming Sanctuary Scholarship recipients and was granted the position. I applied for this because I know I will be able to relate better with students who have had similar experiences and I will be able to guide them on what it means to be a Sanctuary Scholar and how to get the most from their university experience.