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In this guest blog, mature student Zoe describes what her university experience has been like studying BSc (Hons) Midwifery at our Portsmouth Campus.

My name is Zoe, I am a 3rd year (mature) Midwifery student and I study at the Portsmouth campus. I have wanted to be a midwife for as long as I can remember.

After the care I received from my community midwife before and after the birth of my first daughter in 2003 I made it my mission to become a midwife ‘one day’.

I was a stay-at-home mum for many years with my daughters, and during this time I undertook lots of volunteering opportunities. I was a peer support worker for Breast Feeding Network, a volunteer at Home Start, a Cuddle buddy at Southampton General Children’s wards and, I also was a cat socialiser at Blue Cross charity!

Zoe with her friends holding baby manikins and smiling at the camera

My husband encouraged me to take ‘small steps’ on my journey rather than aim for Midwifery from the outset. My journey started with my maths GCSE at the grand age of 35! followed by a 2-year access course. I then worked in a secondary school for a couple of years before applying to become a Maternity support worker. It took 3 applications to get an interview. Persistence in this case paid off!

I knew that my journey into the Midwifery degree would be a long process, it is so competitive, and places are in such demand, that it took me a few years to get the courage to apply. I have taken the ‘small steps mantra’ with me into university. I aim for the next academic unit or next placement area rather than looking toward the end of the year or the course. This really helps me massively and makes the course seem less overwhelming!

Zoe with her friends in their skills uniformsThe Midwifery degree is not for the faint-hearted, it takes commitment, dedication, and most of all passion. It is demanding, exhausting, and emotional! It is essential to have a support network around you.

My hubby and daughters are my biggest cheerleaders, (I don’t think they’ll miss the stress I bring home when exams are looming!).

My cohort is AMAZING, it is so important to have people around you who understand exactly how you are feeling, we regularly all bring in snacks for a lunchtime feast and arrange meet-ups and study sessions, our WhatsApp group is always buzzing with help, support, encouragement, and laughs.

Zoe taking a mirror selfie in her scrubsUniversity has changed me so much as a person, I’ve experienced things that I could only have dreamt of. I feel so privileged and blessed to be a part of maternity and women and their family’s journeys. I love making a difference in their experience.

You never stop learning on this course, be it in the classroom or whilst on placement. There is so much variety whilst on placement, when you think that you’ve seen most things, along comes another experience to add to your memory bank!

In summary…… apply for the degree, get the confidence, and go out of your comfort zone, it is a super hard degree, but you’ll meet the most amazing people, you’ll grow and change as a person, and become part of something so special. If I can do it, then so can you!


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