Lydia – King's College London
Lydia pursued a postgraduate degree to help her reach the next step in her career. We caught up with her to find out more about how she decided where to apply, and what her experience at university was like.
Where are you from? Tell us a bit about your background, what brought you to where you are today?
I grew up in Essex, and moved to Leeds when I was 18 to do my undergraduate degree in English Literature and Philosophy. After I finished my degree I moved back home for a while, went travelling and then moved to London. I’ve now lived here for the past 7 years, and I love it!
What is your postgraduate course, and where are you studying?
I am studying the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Mental Health Nursing at King’s College London (two-year course).
Why did you choose postgraduate study?
I chose postgraduate study as I had reached a point in my career where I needed to gain a qualification in order to move any further in my field. I was working at a mental health service in Barnet, which I loved, but I just couldn’t have progressed any further without retraining. It really felt like the right time in my life to start something new and to begin a new challenge, and I’m so glad I did.
How did you choose your postgraduate course?
I chose my course as it was the one that felt right for me. I had shadowed several different professionals (including mental health nurses, occupational therapists and social workers) and Nursing seemed to fit in with my skills and strengths and I found it to be the most varied course. Having the option to study Mental Health Nursing as a two-year course was a huge bonus. I’m due to finish in 4 months and I am so excited for the next step.
Why did you choose your university?
King’s College London was always my first choice for my postgraduate course. The university has amazing history and connections to Florence Nightingale and I love feeling a part of that community. The university also has great links with hugely influential mental health trusts in London, and the lecturers and clinical teachers are all experts in their field. Being in central London was certainly a bonus too.
How did you apply?
I applied for the postgraduate course through UCAS, as all pre-registration Nursing programmes go via this route.
How did you finance your course?
I was able to save up some money prior to starting my course, which was a huge help. I get a small bursary from the NHS and I also have two jobs! My family have been amazing as well and have been able to help me out when I’ve needed it.
What experience are you gaining during your postgraduate study and how will this help your future career plans?
Studying at postgraduate level has been a wonderful experience. I have gained academic skills from the wide variety of modules on the course, as well as many practical skills, as 50% of my course involved practical training on placement. Doing the course has enabled me to secure a job working in the area I am truly passionate about, and the extra-curricular activities I have been involved in will also be great experience for when I’m working as a Registered Mental Health Nurse.
What are your top tip for those considering postgraduate study?
I recommend anyone considering postgraduate study to invest in a good paper diary and some highlighters! Managing your time well is crucial – the course will go by so quickly so it’s important to stay on top of things! It can feel tough returning to study, especially as a mature student, but stick with it. It will be worth it in the end!