I chose to study public health after taking a year out of education to figure out what I really wanted to do for a career. I knew that I wanted to help people, especially in my hometown of Sunderland and realised that health is a vital part of happiness here.
I initially wanted to study sexual health but realised that public health widened my knowledge and my career opportunities. I researched the course online and thought the lecturers seemed enthusiastic and Sunderland was special as no other North East institution offered a similar course.
I loved studying at the University of Sunderland. I like being at home surrounded by the good craic and people of Sunderland and the University pushed me to achieve things I didn't think I could do. For example, the Students' Union gave me the opportunity to become a peer coach, giving me experience in coaching people which was excellent experience when applying for my current role. I also hosted an event with the Students' Union, hosting an onsite petting zoo to relieve students of stresses and worries during exam periods.
I was also a student ambassador which helped me to earn while I learnt but also gave me the freedom to choose when I wanted to prioritise my learning / studying and when I wanted to work.
The course has given me so much in-depth knowledge and experience of health issues, deprivation and determinants of health. It also made me more open minded with the ability to scrutinise and debate issues instead of taking them at face value, which I believe has made me a more understanding and nicer person.
I made good friends while studying at the University who helped me through my course. I did feel pressures and stress and worked really hard but when I achieved my first class degree it was one of the best feelings I have ever had. I felt as though volunteering within organisations (Students' Union, Sunderland City Council, Gentoo and Live Life Well Sunderland) whilst working part time and finishing my degree was all worth it.
I am now employed by Smokefreelife, a free stop smoking service which offers behavioural support and product treatment for clients wishing to quit smoking. My degree definitely helped me secure my job and I am hoping to progress within the company."