I started my Access to Nursing course in 2020 after being out of education. I’m 22 and had to drop out of my A Levels when I was 17 for mental health reasons. I was getting better from that when I decided I really wanted to do nursing and the only way I could think of getting the same credits was to do an Access to HE course. I’d been looking at it for a couple of years but I was quite nervous about doing something in a college or school so I thought doing it online would be better. That’s when I found the online course with Activate Learning.
I’ve always wanted to do nursing, I think because I’ve got relatives who’ve done it so I was brought up with it. Having my own journey with needing a lot of mental health nurse support, it just felt right, I like to help people and I’d like to give back what I’ve received.
The tutors helped me endlessly, especially when my perfectionism left me wanting to drop out on a few occasions. They would reply quickly to any queries, if I was struggling with anything they were on the end of the phone and if I needed extensions, they were really willing to help me so I would reach my targets. One of my tutors in particular kept motivating me and kept reminding me why I was doing it and where I wanted to get to. She would say “It’s normal to feel like this, it can be overwhelming but you can do it. Look how far you’ve come.” I think having that support from a tutor who understood how I was feeling and not belittling it really kept me going.
There was a group chat with all the students in my cohort which helped as well. We would support each other and spur each other on when things felt overwhelming. To know there were multiple of us in the same kind of position really helped.
In 2021 I completed my access course with 45 credits at distinction, something I never imaged doing. Receiving distinctions was a standout moment in my course, especially biology which I found the hardest, to get good grades for that was a big achievement for me.
The level and quality of teaching has meant I have achieved the equivalent to what would have been my A Levels, aiding me to get into the university of my choice to study mental health nursing. I think the course has set me up really well for university. When I started my A Levels there wasn’t much essay writing going on, it was just learning. Whereas with the online access course, I now know how to write an essay, how to reference, and how to structure and plan things which I think will be key when I go to university.
I would definitely recommend it. I’m quite a nervous person, so if you’re a bit further on, say you’re older than A Level age, I think doing an online course is really good as you don’t have to worry about going into a classroom where you could be a lot older than everyone else. You’re doing it online so you’ve still got the time to do everything else you want to do, there’s better balance and so it gives you that headspace.