Manawatu Guardian - 2021-10-14


Mum flourishing in nursing programme


If Anna Barlow ever needs to remember how far she’s come in the past 18 months, she just looks at her first UCOL student ID card. “I looked very sad back then,” she says. Barlow had become a solo mum and wanted a better future for herself and her four young sons. In 2020, she enrolled in the 17-week UCOL NZ Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) programme, as a pathway into nursing. She was doing well until personal circumstances meant she had to take a break. “I couldn’t focus, so I withdrew from the course.” She says she made the decision to “take a step back” so she could “step forward”. UCOL science and health lecturer and programme leader Lesley Collins says Barlow’s journey through the programme is a familiar one. “Our students are adult learners, so they all come here with their own personal story. Some come from challenging backgrounds — some from bad school experiences, some from life.” Although Collins and her team put an emphasis on treating each student as an individual, providing understanding and encouragement, some students need to take time out. “That choice is offered, if necessary, but we work closely with our engagement co-ordinators, so our students always feel well supported,” she says. After a few months, Barlow was keen to resume her studies, so taking her step back into UCOL, she enrolled in the NZ Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3). “I gave it my all and earned top marks,” she says. Barlow says her recent move back to the Level 4 programme has brought her a greater sense of selfworth and wholeness, and she is thriving in UCOL’s learning environment. “I have made lifelong friendships with my classmates. We are kind of like magnets, we stick together, and our bond is real, and funny and light. We celebrate each other’s successes.” Barlow says the staff at UCOL go above and beyond to help students succeed. “I don’t want to miss a thing in lectures and soak up every bit of knowledge they have to offer. “Even on a bad day, I can’t wait to get on campus. “Being here is a step towards my goal of being a neonatal nurse. “This is where I am meant to be,” she says.


© PressReader. All rights reserved.